Oral Appliances can be helpful in the treatment of snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), and sleep apnea. Oral appliances are designed to assist breathing by keeping the jaw and tongue forward, thereby opening the airway space in the throat. There is well-known proof that oral appliances have significantly reduced snoring and sleep apnea for many people. However, there is no definitive guarantee that this therapy will work for every individual.
Tight airway space in the throat, nasal blockage, and excess weight are just a few of the several factors that contribute to snoring and sleep apnea. No one of us is the same, and each of us has different circumstances. For this reason, oral appliances cannot relieve snoring and/or apnea for everybody. Stratford Dental will provide post testing to assure effective treatment.
Learn more about the sleep apnea home test. If you are interested in taking this test, please give us a call to schedule your consultation with Dr. Brian Evans. (630) 980-3880
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
Diagnosis for mild to moderate sleep apnea can be treated with a custom fabricated oral appliance as well as those that are diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and are CPAP intolerant.
OAT is frequently a useful alternative to CPAP therapy. Custom fabrication is done to the oral appliances to re-position the tongue and lower jaw during sleep. The oral appliance produces support for the airway that tends to struggle during sleep. This treatment can be an extremely successful therapy for, both, snoring and sleep apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends OAT as first-line of treatment for those who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA. For severe OSA patients the CPAP is the standard of care. However, if intolerable, an oral appliance can be prescribed by your physician. There are several different types of FDA approved oral appliances used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. They are comfortable and easy to wear and most people find it only takes a couple weeks to become acclimated to wearing the device to sleep. Unlike the CPAP, most people prefer to use these oral appliances, as they are small, easy to move with, and silent. The oral appliance therapy can be used alone or in combination with other therapies. OAT includes choosing a fitting design for the patient’s needs. This is why Dr. Evans will do a comprehensive examination to determine which appliance will be successful for you.
This is an acrylic custom fabricated appliance. The Moses appliance supports the lower jaw in a forward position of low muscle activity and it prevents collapse of the tongue on the pharynx. It increases the volume of space for the tongue in the mouth and dilates pharyngeal muscles, which lifts the soft palate. The Moses™ elevates the place of the hyoid bone relative to the cranial base and lowers the elevator muscle movement. This will reduce clenching, and/or decrease/prevents bruxism.
The Dream TAP®
The Dream TAP® is an oral appliance that is worn while sleeping and is custom changeable. This appliance grips the lower jaw forward, avoiding the tongue and soft tissue of the throat from collapsing into the airway. It also keeps a clear airway to decrease snoring and improve breathing.
What is CPAP / APAP Therapy?
The CPAP or APAP is continuous or auto adjust positive air pressure from a bedside machine. The air is delivered through a tube that connects to a mask, covering the nose. The air forces and maintains the airway open while you sleep. There are several different mask designs for people to try, however many people find these masks uncomfortable and cumbersome to wear. The noise created from the machine can keep a spouse up and these machines can be difficult to travel with. It is for these reasons that many find they are intolerant of a CPAP machine.
Usually, surgery is suggested when traditional therapies have not been working or have become intolerable.
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) is a surgery that eliminates excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. This, at times, can let air move through the throat more easily as you breathe, decreasing the severity of the obstructive sleep apnea. The tissues that are removed may include:
- Uvula: Tissue hanging down from the back of the roof to the mouth, that has a finger-shape.
- Soft Palate: Part of the roof of the mouth.
- Excess tonsils, throat tissue and adenoids.
If an enlarged tongue is a factor in your sleep apnea, the surgeon may remove a small part of the tongue. This is called an uvulopalatopharyngoglossoplasty.
**It is necessary to work with and ENT in addition to the sleep physician to determine if the surgical procedure is necessary.**