In the past, oral appliances were only seen as an alternative to CPAP therapy; however, the technology in oral appliances has advanced so much that the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has now deemed them a first line of defense for treating mild to moderate cases of OSA.
Oral appliances are custom-fitted dental devices designed to treat snoring and sleep apnea by opening the airway and preventing the tongue from blocking it during sleep. Oral appliances work by gently manipulating the lower jaw slightly forward and lifting the base of the tongue away from the back of the throat. This reduces airway blockages and can also prevent snoring by limiting the vibrations of the soft palate.
Oral appliances are custom made to fit each patient’s particular bite. They feature small, precise components that allow the dentist to titrate (adjust) the appliance carefully to ensure that it is comfortably doing its job of keeping the patient’s airway open.
Many patients who have tried CPAP therapy find that it is easier to fall asleep when they use the retainer-like oral appliances. The awkwardness and restricted movement they experienced with the CPAP is no longer an issue, making settling in at bedtime a more comfortable experience.
Most patients undergoing oral appliance therapy find the device very comfortable to wear and are amazed at how rested they feel each and every morning. It can truly be a life-changing experience for these patients, and many of them wonder how they ever slept without one. Most medical insurance companies will provide coverage toward the cost of Oral Appliance Therapy.
It is vitally important that an oral appliance be made by an experienced, qualified dentist who has been specially trained in Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Nathanson has years of experience in treating patients with custom fitted Oral Appliances for OSA. If you live in Hunt Valley, Cockeysville, Timonium or any of the surrounding areas in Baltimore County, please be sure to contact our office today to schedule an appointment to see if an oral appliance will be the right path of treatment for you.