Dental Sleep Medicine
Dental Sleep Medicine focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders, which include snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), with oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy involves the customized selection, fabrication, fitting, adjustments, and long-term follow-up care of specially designed oral devices, worn during sleep, which reposition the lower jaw and tongue base forward to maintain a more open upper airway.
Snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness are the two most common symptoms of OSA. These may cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, and impaired concentration. Almost 20% of all serious car crash injuries are associated with drivers who suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness.
Snoring is the sound made when the tissues of the soft palate, tongue and throat partially block the airway and vibrate against the back of the throat during sleep. Snoring affects 40% of adults by age 40 and it is estimated that 45 million people snore every night affecting themselves and their bed partners. Snoring can lead to more serious health problems for both the offender and his or her bed partner.
Download this questionnaire to help determine your level of daytime sleepiness: Epworth Sleepiness Scale
Sleep Apnea Relief & Snoring Aids – Oral Appliance Therapy
Relief from dental sleep apnea may be achieved using oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a removable appliance in the mouth while sleeping. These devices fit very similarly to a mouth guard or orthodontic retainer.
Oral appliances help to prevent your airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or by repositioning the jaw in a forward position. You should be custom fitted for an oral appliance by your dentist in order for it to be effective. Although there are over-the-counter devices such as bite and boil mouthguards, they are not recommended as a treatment option for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.
Types of Oral Appliances
There are a variety of oral appliances that can treat obstructive sleep apnea.
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD) – This is the most popular dental device for sleep apnea. It brings the lower jaw forward and away from the back of your throat, which helps prevent the throat from collapsing.
Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) – This device treats snoring and sleep apnea by moving the lower jaw forward slightly, which tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway to prevent obstruction of the airway during sleep.
Mandibular Repositioning Appliances (MRA) – These oral appliances reposition your lower jaw forward and down slightly to keep your airway open while you sleep. Mandibular repositioning devices are the most widely used oral appliances.
Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD) – These oral appliances hold your tongue in place during sleep to prevent it from obstructing the airway
Those who are fitted with one of these sleep apnea appliances need to have it checked shortly afterward to ensure that it is working. Adjustments or periodic replacements are sometimes necessary. Contact us today to make an appointment.