You may think that family dentistry is only about cleanings and checkups but that’s not the case. Your dentist can help with sleep apnea through a technique called oral appliance therapy. This type of therapy can help you sleep better, improve your alertness and restore your overall health.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is a facet of family dentistry that corrects heavy snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. If you suffer from sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment that involves a custom fitted oral device resembling a mouthguard or retainer. This oral appliance is fitted to your mouth and supports the jaw in a forward position that keeps the upper airway open while you sleep.
You may benefit from oral appliance therapy if you:
- Have mild to moderate sleep apnea
- Snore heavily
- Have tried CPAP therapy but it had no impact on your sleep apnea
- Had a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, tracheostomy or other craniofacial operations that were unsuccessful
How can your dentist help?
At your family dentistry clinic, your dentist will work with your physician who will give you a prescription for the custom-made oral appliance to be used in your sleep apnea therapy. Your dentist will perform a full clinical evaluation of your jaw, tongue, teeth and airways. X-rays may also be used to create a full view of your mouth. Digital or physical impressions are then made of your mouth, which are sent to the dental lab where your appliance will be created.
When your appliance is ready your dentist will fit and adjust it to the exact contours of your mouth. You’ll also receive instructions on how to care and clean the appliance. Follow-up visits are necessary over the course of your sleep apnea therapy to ensure that the appliance still fits and is doing its job of keeping your airways open while you slumber.
Why choose oral appliance therapy
When you visit your family dentistry clinic, you will be told of the benefits of using oral appliance therapy. It is extremely effective for people that have tried CPAP masks but find that they make their noses dry and itchy. Furthermore, CPAP masks dry out the sinuses and can be a pain to wear. Oral appliances are easy to travel with and care for. Plus, oral appliances are fitted to your mouth and made sure they are comfortable for you. You will not feel like your mouth is full when you are wearing your appliance.
Please visit our family dentistry clinic for more information about how we can help with your sleep apnea.