Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that can have a significant negative impact on overall health. Left untreated, this condition can lead to serious health issues, including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more. Sleep apnea treatment may involve several different approaches, including oral appliance therapy. Here, our Rancho Cucamonga, CA, team explores the topic of oral appliances for obstructive sleep apnea.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a custom-made mouthpiece while you sleep. By placing the jaw in a more favorable position, the airway is opened. As a result, more oxygen is carried to the brain and throughout the body. Oral appliances are considered a leading treatment for sleep apnea, and over 100 different types have been cleared by the FDA.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
The effects of sleep apnea are vast and varied, ranging from mild to severe. Oral appliance therapy at our Rancho Cucamonga practice is a non-invasive, effective treatment option that can help alleviate these symptoms.
Oral appliances are advantageous for many reasons, especially when compared to CPAP, a common treatment for sleep apnea. Oral appliances are:
- Portable: Oral appliances are much smaller than CPAP machines and can be transported easily, making them excellent for travel.
- Comfortable: Compared to CPAP, most patients consider oral appliances to be more comfortable. Many CPAP patients complain of dry sinuses. With oral appliance therapy, this is not an issue.
- Quiet: CPAP machines require a lot of noisy equipment. Sometimes this can make it difficult for patients, and their partners, to sleep well.
- Easily maintainable: Custom oral appliances can be easily cleaned and maintained. Simply brush the appliance daily with a soft toothbrush. We also recommend soaking the appliance one a week in a denture cleanser to reduce bacteria.
Is Oral Appliance Therapy for Everyone?
Oral appliance therapy is incredibly beneficial for many individuals, but it is not right for everyone. If you suffer from severe sleep apnea, a custom mouthpiece may not be enough to correct the issue. In these cases, you may need to explore other options, such as CPAP, lifestyle changes, or in some cases, surgery.
However, if you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy might be right for you. Some individuals find that combining CPAP with oral appliance therapy successfully eliminates harmful symptoms and enhances their overall quality of life.
How Can I Determine if an Oral Appliance Is Right for Me?
The first step in your journey is a comprehensive evaluation with Dr. Sharon B. Mateja at our Rancho Cucamonga practice. X-rays, 3-D imaging, and other diagnostic tools may be used to determine the severity of your condition. If necessary, your dentist may refer you to a sleep specialist for further testing.
If you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy, we will take impressions of your teeth. These molds are then used to design a custom-fit appliance. You will likely need to attend a follow-up visit to ensure that your appliance is fitting well and working as expected.
Learn More about Oral Appliances for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If sleep apnea is affecting your health and quality of life, it is time to explore your treatment options. Schedule a visit at our practice by calling (909) 989-5959. You can also contact us online anytime.