Sleep apnea treatment involves maintaining an open airway during sleep and preventing the airway from collapsing. Sleeping masks were traditionally used to keep airways open during sleep, but nowadays there are some less intrusive options. Dental devices that tease the lower jaw forward are very effective in preventing the tongue from blocking the main air passage. These dental devices are gentle, easy-to-wear, and often help patients avoid unwanted surgeries. Oral Appliances are placed in the mouth much like an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth protector. Worn during sleep to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, oral appliances promote adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep in people who snore and have sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as the first-line therapy for patients who have been diagnosed with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea or severe obstructive sleep apnea that cannot tolerate their prescribed CPAP. They can also be used in conjunction with other therapies such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). Determination of proper therapy can only be made by joint consultation between your sleep physician and a qualified sleep medicine dentist.