Oral Appliance Treatment for Snoring
Similar to orthodontic appliances or sports mouth guards, anti-snoring devices are worn in the mouth during sleep to treat snoring and sleep apnea. These oral appliances work by holding your lower jaw open and slightly forward during sleep. This prevents the tongue from falling back into the airway and contacting the back of the throat causing an obstruction. The airway remains open, promoting adequate air intake, and reduces air velocity and soft tissue vibration and collapse.
In order to work with an optimal treatment outcome, oral appliances must be custom fitted by a dentist who will ensure that the appliance molds to the patient's mouth and provides maximum benefit. The dentist may also work with the patient's physician in the diagnosis, treatment, and on-going care.
Today, approximately 70 different oral appliances are available for the treatment of snoring and/or sleep apnea. These devices may be used alone or in conjunction with other means of treating snoring and/or sleep apnea, including weight management, surgery, or CPAP.
Oral appliances can be classified in two ways:
Tongue Retaining Appliances
These oral devices function by holding the tongue in a forward position, which serves to keep the back of the tongue from collapsing during sleep and obstructing the airway in the throat.
Mandibular Repositioning Appliances
These appliances reposition and maintain the lower jaw (mandible) in a protruded position during sleep. As a result, the airway is opened by indirectly pulling the tongue forward. It also holds the lower jaw in a stable position to prevent opening of the mouth.
Compared to other treatment options for snoring and sleep apnea, such as CPAP, oral appliances offer many advantages, including:
- Oral appliances are easily portable and convenient
- Oral appliances are ideal for patients who are not good candidates for surgery
- Oral appliances are more discreet and less cumbersome than CPAP
- Oral appliances can be used in combination with other approaches, including alternate sleep positions and weight loss
- Oral appliances are custom-designed by your dentist for the patient's mouth and individual circumstances
- Oral appliances are easy to wear and comfortable
- Oral appliance therapy is non-invasive and reversible
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