Have you recently been diagnosed with sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing? What do you know about your treatment options? Many are under the impression that a CPAP machine is the only non-surgical option. Your Tacoma dentist and local sleep and TMJ expert, Dr. Giesy, is ready to help you understand your options by answering the question: do dental appliances work for sleep apnea?
What is a Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance?
Dental appliances that treat sleep apnea go by many names. Oral appliances, dental sleep devices, or most technically, a Jaw Advancing Device (JAD) or Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD).
Many people confuse night guards with an oral appliance. Although they look similar to a night guard, that’s where the similarities end. A night guard is typically used to protect teeth from clenching and grinding during sleep. A night guard will NOT correct the underlying cause of sleep apnea — a constricted airway.
How Do Dental Appliances Work for Sleep Apnea?
The purpose of a dental appliance to treat sleep apnea is to maintain an open airway while sleeping.
A sleep apnea oral appliance keeps the airway open by preventing the jaw and tongue from collapsing back during sleep. By reducing the air obstruction, a dental appliance can correct sleep apnea and snoring. Oral appliance therapy is approved for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Most patients find a sleep apnea oral appliance comfortable and adjust to wearing it to sleep similar to a custom fitted mouth guard. An oral appliance is made to fit with exacting specifications for each patient’s needs and desired results. Recent advances in the development of oral appliances use 3D printing to improve fit, longevity, and comfort for the patient.
“The sleep appliance is easy to wear and has not affected my sleep at all. I feel rested. I feel awake. I’m no longer dozing at traffic lights. I’m very grateful to tell anybody I have something that works, and it’s easy to use.” — Steve, Actual Sleep Apnea Patient
What are the Benefits of an Oral Appliance?
Although there is no one therapy that will work on all patients 100% of the time, a dental appliance is an effective solution for many patients.
Some additional benefits of dental appliances are:
- Sleep in nearly any sleeping position
- Compact for traveling
- No noise
- No electricity required
Find a Sleep Apnea Specialist in Tacoma
Treating your sleep apnea can not only mean a better sleep and quality of life but also a longer and healthier life.
Dr. Giesy offers a comprehensive evaluation for diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea. Using state-of-the-art techniques and equipment in a caring, friendly environment, he helps you on your way to waking up rested and refreshed.
So, do dental appliances work for sleep apnea? Absolutely! Dr. Giesy is eager to create a sleep apnea appliance using the latest research and proven clinical techniques to provide the best position and fit for your rehabilitation.