CLick heare to get the 'Dental Appliances Buyers Guide'!

CLick heare to get the ‘Dental Appliances Buyers Guide’!

Dental appliances are generally thought to be equally effective in treating mild, moderate and severe sleep apnea. They are also an extremely effective medical tool to treat snoring.

After therapy is instituted, a majority of patients experience marked improvement in symptoms. In some patients, symptoms are completely eliminated.

How exactly does a dental appliance eliminate sleep apnea?

w_daAn oral appliance is fitted by a dentist with a special expertise in the area of sleep apnea. This device repositions the jaw so that the tongue and other oral/buccal structures do not fall backward during sleep and obstruct your airway. Oral devices are:

  • easy to use,
  • easy to clean,
  • convenient to carry around, and
  • comfortable to wear at night.

Most side effects are temporary and involve the initial first week or two, a period when your mouth and jaw are adjusting to the presence of the device.

Do dental appliances really work?

As it is with all therapies, the ultimate degree of success is dependent upon patient compliance. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances for patients with mild sleep apnea. They also recommend oral appliances for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea who are not interested in CPAP or surgery.

Nonetheless, many clinical practitioners would disagree with this. Most believe that an oral appliance is as effective as CPAP. They argue that follow-up sleep studies, performed by sleep specialists demonstrate almost complete resolution of nocturnal hypoxemia (decreased oxygen in the blood) after therapy with an oral appliance has been instituted.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also feels that dental appliances are generally most effective in people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 30kg/m2 and below. This means that overweight people may not benefit as much from the use of these appliances.

Again, clinical practitioners disagree. They believe that the BMI is not an independent predictor of success with a dental appliance and that it is equally effective in patients of all body weights.

w_da1A study published in the British Medical Journal found that treatment was successful in 55% of patients using an adjustable mandibular positioner. Most of the patients preferred the mandibular repositioning device (MRD) to a CPAP.

Another study done on 75 patients found that 38 of them had their sleep apnea symptoms eliminated completely while using the device alone. Improved snoring rates of 70% were noted by their bed partners. 80% of patients found their dental appliance to be more tolerable than CPAP.

Objective analysis showed that there was improvement in the amount of oxygen carried in blood (oxygen saturation).

Advantages of oral appliances, according to the participants of the study, included their simplicity, cost-effectiveness, reversibility and wide application for varying degrees of disorders. They were also more acceptable to most people compared to CPAP. Other evidence-based clinical guidelines on the use of oral appliances to treat OSA were published in 1995.

These have been revised and in 2009, the most current publication was made. In conclusion, dental appliances are extremely effective tools for the treatment of both snoring and sleep apnea. For very severe sleep apnea, a combination of oral therapy and CPAP may be used.

Interested in learning more about dental appliance for sleep apnea? Please click here to get the “Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea Program”.

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