ORAL APPLIANCE for Sleep Apnea

The Center for Sleep Apnea and TMJ provides comfortable sleep apnea, snoring, and TMJ pain treatment using oral appliance therapy. It’s time to smile again as you finally get a good night’s rest!

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Sleep Apnea Treatments

In this paragraph I’m going to discuss why an oral appliance for sleep apnea is an effective alternative for patients using a CPAP. Firstly, oral appliances are simple in how they function as sleep treatments. An oral appliance keeps the lower jaw and tongue from falling back and blocking the airway, therefore keeping the airway open and allowing the patient to breathe on their own.

To clarify, an oral appliance functions similarly to the “head tilt, chin lift” procedure taught in CPR classes. On the other hand, CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) works by wearing a mask while sleeping that forces the airway open using air pressure. consequently many patients can’t tolerate the mask, the hose, the noise, or the pressure and as a result end up going without treatment. Above all our focus at The Center for Sleep Apnea and TMJ is to help patients get the treatment they need for their sleep apnea in a way that is comfortable and simple.  

Types of Appliances

Firstly, while there are many oral appliances on the market, they all basically do the same thing, that is that a good oral appliance keeps the airway open by preventing the lower jaw from falling back. Secondly, oral appliances are made out of a variety of materials—most being adjustable. Certainly no patient is the same, and so the sleep apnea treatment appliances being adjustable is extremely important so that an effective jaw position can be found.

In other words, some patients may only need to keep their lower jaw from falling back and blocking the airway, while others may need to hold their jaw gently forward to allow a more open airway. In short, our offices patients are routinely scheduled for follow up sleep studies during which the appliance can be adjusted by the sleep technician to ensure that the appliance is working as well as possible.

ema oral appliance

ELASTIC MANDIBULAR ADVANCEMENT (EMA)

Certainly the EMA is one of the most comfortable of the oral appliances for treatments of sleep apnea and snoring. It is made with a very thin and comfortable material, along with elastic bands that allow for a good range of motion; with the ability to easily speak and drink while the appliance is in place.

Most importantly, the EMA can be adjusted by using different lengths of bands. The bands also come in different densities which allows for a custom, comfortable fit.

MDSA Appliance

MEDICAL DENTAL SLEEP APPLIANCE (MDSA)

Absolutely a safe and effective treatment for snoring, and mild to moderate sleep apnea. The laboratory made MDSA holds the jaw and tongue forward and prevents the throat from collapsing during sleep. Additionally this appliance has connections only in the front of the mouth, which may be preferable for paitents with missing rear teeth.

Therefore, the MDSA is scientifically proven as an effective method for treating snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea. The MDSA is an alternative therapy when other treatments that involve nasal CPAP or surgery are not accepted.

oral appliance

SILENT SLEEP

The Silent Sleep is a non-custom, sleep treatment appliance invented by Dr. Spencer. It is very comfortable and costs less than custom made appliances, as there is no need for impressions of the teeth, creation of models, and custom lab fabrication. The disadvantage of the Silent Sleep is that the jaw position cannot be adjusted by the patient. This may mean several office visits are needed to find the best position.

The Silent Sleep is used mostly for simple snoring cases. However, the Silent Sleep is far more comfortable and less bulky than appliances seen on TV like the Pure Sleep. Most importantly, buying an appliance on TV or through the internet should be avoided since there is no contact with a dentist and oral appliances can have negative dental side effects—especially when there is no follow up. In short, if you’ve tried a TV appliance and it helped but you couldn’t stand to use it (due to bulkiness or comfort issues), then a Silent Sleep or a custom appliance like the EMA may be indicated.

oral appliance

SOMNOMED (DORSAL)

A relatively new appliance on the market. Its strong point is the fact that it is very smooth and comfortable and is completly rigid giving it great retention on dentures and other dentition with low retentive qualities. It is unique in that the upper and lower component of the appliance are not connected, as with other appliances. This allows for full opening of the mouth. The SomnoMed can also be adjusted.

DID YOU KNOW?

25% of men in the U.S. are estimated to suffer from some form of Sleep Apnea

AND

Sleep Apnea is linked to obesity, diabetes, stroke and heart failure

The Stages of Sleep

Certainly for those who suffer from this condition, it is near impossible to go through the full cycle of a restful sleep. To clarify, there are four stages of sleep, and each one is necessary to achieve a full night’s rest.

The four stages of the sleep cycle are:

  1. Transition – about 5% of the total cycle.
  2. Light – about 45% of the cycle.
  3. Deep – about 25% of the cycle. This is when the body heals itself and many important reparative functions occur. People who don’t enter the deep cycle will be tired the next day.
  4. REM – Rapid Eye Movement – about 25% of the cycle. This is when most memorable dreams occur. People who don’t complete a full REM cycle tend to complain that they are tired and find it difficult to concentrate.

How is Sleep Apnea Treated?

Certainly your quality of life is affected greatly by the quality of the sleep you get. Fortunately, help for those suffering with a lack of sleep is easily accessible from a sleep clinic and you can usually get treatment without the need for medications.

CPAP Machine Therapy

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. A CPAP machine blows a constant stream of air into your mouth, forcing open your airway and allowing your body to get the oxygen it needs. Despite its widespread use, many people are CPAP intolerant and are unable to wear the mask at night due to how invasive and uncomfortable it can be.

Oral Appliances

An EMA is one such oral appliance used in the treatment of sleep apnea but there are many that are effective. They are worn in the mouth overnight and look like sports mouth guards, however their purpose is to ease the lower jaw forwards to make breathing easier. Additionally there is a tongue retaining device, which acts as a kind of splint to keep the tongue in place and open the airways.

Surgery

To clarify, rarely is surgery used to treat OSA. However, nasal surgery may help a patient’s ability to use a CPAP. There is also the option of having a bimaxillary advancement performed. When all else fails, the last option is having a Tracheostomy performed – when a surgeon makes an opening in the front of the neck and inserts a tube into the windpipe to help patients breathe.

Stop suffering from poor sleep. Find out how we can help.