Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Two blue oral appliance cases on a gray background.

Sleep is essential for our overall well-being, yet millions of people around the world struggle with sleep disorders, particularly sleep-disordered breathing. These conditions, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can have a significant impact on one’s quality of life and overall health. While traditional treatments often focus on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines or surgery, research shows that treating sleep-disordered breathing with oral appliances is an effective option for many people.

At Santa Teresa Smiles we take a holistic approach to treating sleep-disordered breathing by addressing the root cause and focusing on the relationship between oral health, facial anatomy, and airway function. We understand that a constricted airway contributes to various sleep disorders, and we play a vital role in diagnosing and treating these conditions.

Sleep-disordered breathing encompasses a range of conditions, with OSA being the most severe. OSA occurs when the upper airway collapses partially or completely during sleep, causing recurrent interruptions in breathing. These interruptions can lead to fragmented sleep, oxygen desaturation, and a host of health problems, including cardiovascular issues, cognitive impairment, and daytime fatigue.

The Role of Oral Appliances

Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs) or mandibular repositioning appliances (MRAs), are dental devices specifically designed to treat sleep-disordered breathing. They work by repositioning the lower jaw (mandible) slightly forward during sleep, which helps keep the airway open. This prevents airway collapse, reduces snoring, and improves the flow of oxygen to the body.

There are many advantages to oral appliances for treatment:

  1. Comfort and Compliance One of the primary advantages of oral appliances is their comfort and ease of use compared to CPAP machines. Many patients find it challenging to adapt to wearing a mask and using a CPAP machine every night. In contrast, oral appliances are discreet, non-invasive, and easy to wear, making them a more appealing option for some individuals.
  2. Customization Airway-centered dentists work closely with patients to customize oral appliances to their unique anatomical needs. This personalized approach ensures maximum effectiveness and comfort.
  3. Improved Sleep Quality By preventing airway collapse and reducing snoring, oral appliances can significantly improve the quality of sleep for individuals with sleep-disordered breathing. Restorative sleep is essential for overall health and well-being.
  4. Health Benefits Treating sleep-disordered breathing with oral appliances can lead to a range of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, improved cognitive function, and enhanced daytime alertness.
  5. Portability Oral appliances are highly portable, making them an excellent choice for individuals who travel frequently or have an active lifestyle. They don’t require electricity or cumbersome equipment.

An integrative approach to sleep-disordered breathing is crucial for optimal patient care. We often collaborate with other healthcare professionals, including sleep physicians and ENT specialists, to ensure comprehensive evaluation and treatment. This multidisciplinary approach allows for a more holistic treatment of the patient and their specific needs.

Contact us today to talk about how an oral appliance could be right for you.