Specific Care

Sleep Apnea Oral Devices

Sleep apnea is a common, chronic sleep disorder that requires lifetime management. More than 25 million people suffer from sleep apnea in the United States.  Because sleep is vital to how you look, feel and perform in everyday life, leaving sleep apnea untreated can have negative consequences on your heath.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

  • Lifestyle Changes
  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device
  • Surgery
  • Oral appliance therapy

How does oral appliance therapy work?

When lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol, sleeping pills and sedatives, or moving from sleeping on your back to sleeping on your side are unsuccessful and more invasive alternatives such as a CPAP device or even surgery are not viable or desirable options, an oral appliance can be an effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring.

A custom-fit oral device, worn only at night, can result in improved sleep, daytime alertness and overall health. The appliance is worn like a mouth guard or retainer and works by moving the lower jaw forward in order to maintain an upper airway.

If you and your doctor decide that an oral appliance is the right treatment for you, he or she will write you a prescription for a custom-made appliance. According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, more than 100 appliances have been approved by the FDA. Many medical insurance policies cover oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea.

What can you expect when visiting your dentist for oral appliance therapy?

Dentists at BGW Dental Group are qualified and experienced in fitting oral appliances in patients to help relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.

When seeking out oral appliance therapy, your dentist will explain the benefits of treatment and conduct an exam of your teeth, jaw, mouth, tongue and airway. An X-ray may be required. Impressions and models of your teeth are taken in the office and then sent to a dental lab where the appliance is made.

Once ready, the patient returns to the dentist to be fitted properly and ensure the appliance is as comfortable and effective as possible. Your dentist will provide instructions for use and cleaning. Follow-up visits with your dentist ensure optimal fit of the oral appliance and may be adjusted over time to ensure maximum effectiveness.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, give us a call or click here to request an appointment. 

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What is sleep apnea?

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when soft tissue in the throat area collapses and blocks the airway during sleep, causing pauses in breathing or shallow breathing. Pauses can last seconds or even minutes, and may occur multiple times, disrupting oxygen flow in the body.

It is common for sleep apnea to go undiagnosed, and in many cases it is a family member who first notices the signs. Although you may not know you’re suffering from sleep apnea, the constant disruptions in sleep result in poor sleep quality leading to myriad health and performance issues.

Routine medical exams and tests typically cannot diagnose sleep apnea. An overnight sleep study often is required to diagnose the condition.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring
  • Gasping or choking sounds during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Memory loss

Complications of Untreated Sleep Apnea

Increased risk for:

  • Hypertension
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Chronic Acid Reflux
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats)
  • Driving or work-related accidents
  • Erectile Dysfunction

Severe sleep apnea, if left untreated, can even result in death.