Oral Appliances are similar to an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth protector, but are worn during sleep and are specifically designed to provide adequate air intake and normal sleep in people who snore and have a medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea.
Custom sleep apnea appliances must be fitted by a dentists specifically trained in oral appliance therapy, dental occlusion and treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
A sleep study must first be performed in order to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea, to ensure other sleep disorders are not at play and to evaluate the effectiveness of oral appliance therapy. Treating just snoring with a custom oral appliance or snoring mouth guard can dangerously mask or worsen sleep apnea, even if snoring has stopped or significantly reduced.
After impressions of your teeth are taken, a custom oral appliance will be fabricated. This usually takes 2 or 3 weeks. Your dentist will fit your appliance and will review instructions of use. Your dentist will guide your treatment and adjust the oral appliance until the snoring, excessive sleepiness or any other sleep apnea related symptoms have been reduced or eliminated. The effectiveness of the oral appliance is then verified by measuring your apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) during a follow-up sleep study.
Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices, are custom fit devices that are worn only at night that fit much like a sports mouth guard. It supports the jaw in a forward position and is designed to help maintain an open airway.
Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other means of therapy such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP), positional therapy or surgery to reduce snoring and treat obstructive sleep apnea by preventing the airway from collapsing.
If you have ever witnessed an apneic event first hand, you know it can be frightening to see a friend or loved one struggling to breathe while sleeping, and then gasping for air as if they are suffocating. Apneic events in patients with obstructive sleep apnea are caused by the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat collapsing, causing "a cessation of airflow for 10 seconds or more”. An apneic’s bed partner may be relieved and try to fall asleep when the apneic briefly stops snoring, not realizing that those coveted moments of silence actually mean the person they are sleeping next to isn’t breathing.
There are over 100 custom oral appliances approved by the FDA. These appliances fall into two types of oral appliances for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
Mandibular advancement splints are by far the most numerous type on the market. They all function to reposition and maintain the lower jaw (mandible) forward in a protruded position during sleep. This serves to open the airway by indirectly pulling the tongue forward.
There are only a few tongue retaining devices available, but they have been well studied and shown to be effective in many patients. Tongue retainers function by directly holding the tongue in a forward position by means of a suction bulb that holds the tongue. When the tongue is in a forward position, the back of the tongue does not collapse during sleep and obstruct the airway in the throat.
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When I was diagnosed with severe Sleep Apnea and I was told I had to wear a CPAP machine for the rest of my life, everytime I went to sleep I was very upset and scared. I started using the CPAP but felt uncomfortable all night. Then I found Dr. Stern on the internet and decided to see him. He introduced me to this really cool oral appliance that is practically transparent. I was not sure if it would work however decided to go for it.(I finally returned my CPAP machine). I have to tell you it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I sleep much better and wake up fresh every day. I can toss and turn and walk around with it if I need to. It fits perfectly over my teeth and is very easy to remove. I am thankful to Dr. Stern and his team for changing my life. I will recommend using the oral appliance to anyone who has Sleep Apnea. It will change your life forever!. Thank you Dr. Stern you are the BEST!
"Dr. Stern and his team have delivered! My wife and I thank you so much . My Oral Sleep appliance is a Miracle"
Many thanks to Dr. Stern and the oral appliance he prescribed me. With his help I am sleeping much better and have more energy. My wife also sleeps better knowing I no longer snore. I have my life back !!
Wow! What a difference the Silencer appliance has made in my life. I sleep better. I wake up less tired and best of all my wife loves it.
You saved my marriage!
I was afraid I would choke during my sleep. I would wake up exhausted. I used to pull over to the side of the road to rest ,so as not to fall asleep at the wheel of my car. I was scared to drive because of my sleep apnea. Let alone sleeping in another room bcause of the loud snoring that prevented my wife from having a good night's sleep. Not anymore ,thanks to Dr. Stern and my oral appliance. Now I wake up more refreshed without feeling like I am choking in my sleep. I am way less tired during the day and don't need to take my power naps anymore. Best of all I'm back in the same bed with my wife!
I tried everything and nothing worked. I'm happy my doctor recomended oral appliance treatment. My husband says I don't snore, and I wake up more refreshed inthe morning. Thanks so very much!
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