Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliances

Obstructive Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which breathing constantly stops and starts. According to the National Sleep Foundation, roughly 80 million adult Americans suffer from sleep apnea. Fortunately, there are effective treatment options for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Oral Appliance Therapy is used to treat patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which an individual has one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while sleeping. Oral appliances must be added in order to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. An oral appliance is a small device that fits in the mouth resembling a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer.  They allow the airway to be open during sleep and encourage adequate oxygen intake by increasing muscle tone of the tongue and re-positioning and stabilizing the lower jaw. Our dentists will begin the process by fitting the custom-made oral appliance and conclude which design is best suited for your specific needs.


Why is Obstructive Sleep Apnea so Dangerous?

OSA occurs when an individual sleeps with their tough rolled back, therefore blocking the airway. The disrupted breathing pattern can occur 10 to 100 times per hour and lasting anywhere from 10-90 seconds. When the airway is blocked, the supply of oxygen to the tissue decreases causing serious vital organ damage. According to Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg, diseases and bacteria most likely won’t survive when the human body has an adequate supply of oxygen. Obstructive Sleep Apnea doesn’t allow for adequate oxygen. Therefore hypoxia, cancer, and other diseases become a higher risk.

Possible Side Effects of Oral Appliance Therapy

Using oral appliance therapy may cause temporary side effects. These side effects may be evident during the first few weeks of treatment and may require a slight adjustment of the device. Side effects may include:

Change in bite
Slight movement of teeth
Sore gums
Tension in the jaw
Dry mouth
Excessive salivation
Tension in the jaw
Loosening of dental restorations

These complications can be identified and treated by dentists trained in dental sleep medicine.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea has many advantages. They are comfortable, easy to use, and it only takes a couple of weeks to adapt to wearing the appliance. In addition to comfort and ease, oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive alternative to surgery.

To learn more about treating obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliances, contact Hyde Park Dental at (435) 258-7447. We are Happy to answer your questions and help build a custom dental plan for all of your oral health needs.