How Can a Custom Oral Appliance Help Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious condition characterized by breathing that starts and stops throughout the night. Those with sleep apnea often suffer from fatigue and may be at increased risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Sleep apnea treatment can help improve sleep apnea symptoms and boost quality of life. At River City Dental Solutions in San Antonio, TX, Drs. Joseph Perry and Thomas Shields offer custom oral appliances for sleep apnea. To find out if sleep apnea treatment is right for you, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with one of our dentists.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is a sleep apnea treatment that uses a custom-fitted oral appliance, similar to a mouth guard, to open the airways and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea.
At our San Antonio practice, oral appliances are custom-fitted to sit snugly over the teeth and reposition the lower jaw to a more forward position for improved passage of air through the airways.
Using an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea can help some people avoid using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, which can be loud and uncomfortable.
How Do Oral Appliances Help Sleep Apnea?
Oral appliances for sleep apnea consist of an upper and lower mouthpiece that fit over the top and bottom dental arches. The mouthpieces are connected to one another by a metal hinge. This hinge is what helps push the lower jaw forward.
Oral appliances help with sleep apnea by gently repositioning the jaw to a more forward position and holding it in place during sleep. This can help open the airway for improved breathing during sleep.
The Treatment Process
Once sleep apnea is diagnosed, often by a sleep specialist, oral appliance therapy may be recommended. If oral appliance therapy is the choice of treatment, treatment will begin with the fabrication of a custom-fitted oral appliance.
In order to make a customized oral appliance, impressions are taken of the teeth. The appliance may then be made to conform to the unique bite of each patient, creating a comfortable fit.
Once the custom oral appliance is finished, patients may then wear their appliance to sleep or as instructed.
Many of our San Antonio patients notice improved sleep apnea symptoms, including reduced snoring, in as little as one night.
The Benefits of Custom Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Custom oral appliances offer many benefits for those who suffer from sleep apnea, such as:
- Non-invasive: Sleep apnea is sometimes treated with surgery to reduce tissues at the back of the throat that may be obstructing airways. For some people, simply shifting the jaw forward with an oral appliance is enough to open the airways, making it a good non-invasive option for sleep apnea.
- Reduced snoring: One of the most common complaints about sleep apnea is loud snoring. Snoring is caused by tissues vibrating at the back of the throat. Opening the airway with an oral appliance can help reduce snoring.
- Comfortable: Custom oral appliances are made to fit your bite, making them comfortable to wear throughout the night. They are more comfortable than wearing a face mask as CPAP machines require.
- Won't disturb sleeping partner: Oral appliances are discreet and don’t make noise (unlike CPAP machines), which can help your sleeping partner get a better night's sleep, too.
Find Out if an Oral Appliance Is Right for You
If you have sleep apnea and would like to find out if a custom oral appliance can help alleviate your symptoms, we welcome you to call (210) 349-3745 to schedule a consultation.