What is an Oral Appliance?
You have probably heard of a CPAP machine as treatment for sleep apnea. Oral appliances are devices that are used instead of a CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea and snoring. There are more than 100 different types of oral appliance currently on the market. These are approved by the FDA for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Like athletic sports mouthguards, these dental appliances are worn in the mouth while you sleep.
Sleep apnea and snoring occur when the airway is obstructed or collapsed. Most often this is caused by the tongue and muscles in the upper airway. An oral appliance is used to keep the lower jaw in a slightly forward position. This keeps the airway open so that upon relaxing the tongue and upper airway muscles do not close off the opening. Not everyone is a candidate for an oral appliance; however, people suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or OSA will be happy to know that oral appliances are considered a first line treatment. Some people with severe OSA may be prescribed an oral appliance if the CPAP machine is not a good fit.
Do Snoring Mouthpieces Actually Work?
Many people prefer the oral appliance and feel it works better than other sleep apnea devices. A word of caution though – consult with a dentist who is trained in Dental Sleep Medicine. Over the counter devices or those you can purchase are most likely not approved by the FDA. Such oral appliance may not give the expected results and may even be detrimental by causing your teeth to shift out of place over time. Some may even make your condition worse. The Central Park South TMJ Center offers extensive experience with oral appliances. We will be glad to help you find the appliance that will work for your particular case. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.