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How Do Oral Appliances Work?
Cambridge, OH

A patient sleeping peacefully after getting an oral appliance from OHIOSmiles in Cambridge, OHSleep apnea is a common condition that affects your quality of sleep. When you have sleep apnea, you wake up several times a night, although you are not aware of it. These moments of wakefulness last only a few seconds and occur because your breathing is disrupted. When you have sleep apnea, your entire quality of life is affected. OHIOSmiles can help with oral appliance therapy. However, just how do oral appliances work?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

When you sleep, all of your muscles relax, including those in your mouth and throat. Obstructive sleep apnea, or simply OSA, is the most common form of sleep apnea. It occurs when your tongue, or other tissues in your mouth and near your throat, block your airway, preventing you from breathing while you sleep.

What is an Oral Appliance?

An oral appliance is a device that is made to be worn in your mouth while you sleep. It fits over your teeth, much like a sports mouthguard. The device, which is made from an impression of your mouth, works to keep your mandible in a forward position, preventing it from falling back while you sleep. Because of this, it prevents your oral tissues from sliding back into your throat to block your airway.

While you can find oral appliances over the counter at many pharmacies, these devices are not recommended. They do not always provide an ideal fit. As a result, they can fall out of your mouth while you sleep, rendering them completely ineffective.

Ill-fitting devices can also interfere with normal breathing, making the situation much worse. Instead, we recommend getting an oral appliance custom-made. We take impressions of your mouth and create an oral appliance just for you. This ensures an optimal fit. We are also able to take your bite into consideration, avoiding the creation of other potential issues.

Pros and Cons of Oral Appliances

There are many benefits associated with oral appliances. These include:
•  Providing an alternative to patients who cannot, or who do not want to, use a C-PAP machine. They often provide greater comfort and are much more tolerable to wear.
•  Avoiding a dry, itchy nose.
•  Less equipment. If you move around a lot while you sleep, you do not have to worry about getting tangled up in anything, or knocking any equipment off.
•  Easier to travel with.

While there are many benefits, there are also a few drawbacks as well. These include:
•  Jaw pain or tension.
•  Soreness in the teeth and gums.
•  Excessive salivation.
•  Dry mouth.
•  Dental restorations may become loose.

Who is a Candidate for Oral Appliance Therapy?

Candidates for oral appliance therapy:
•  Have mild to moderate sleep apnea.
•  Suffer snoring.
•  Have tried a C-PAP machine and it was not effective. You may also simply not want to use a C-PAP machine.
•  Have had unsuccessful surgical treatments or have refused certain surgical options.

Oral appliance therapy can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea, providing you with an alternative to a C-PAP machine. If you are interested in learning more about oral appliances for sleep apnea, and finding out if one is right for you, call OHIOSmiles at (740) 781-0540 today.
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