The Advantage of an Oral Appliance
An oral appliance is a small plastic device that fits into a patient’s mouth while they sleep. It works much like a mouth guard used during sports or even an orthodontic retainer. These devices are considered a front-line treatment against snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (whether mild or moderate). An oral appliance works to prevent the tongue and soft tissues at the back of the throat from collapsing at night to keep airways open while sleeping. Patients may use oral appliances independently or alongside other forms of treatments designed for breathing disorders arising during sleep.
Sleep Disorder Treatment in Portland Through Oral Appliance Therapy
The selection and fitting of an oral appliance is a specialty to ensure the device stays put, supporting open and unobstructed airways during sleep. Patients dealing with sleep disorders will work alongside our sleep doctors to treat sleep apnea and create the right oral appliance. These custom devices have been proven as one of the most effective forms of treatment for various sleep disorders.
Dr. Karim is familiar with this type of therapy to determine the best oral appliance for your specific needs. Initially, a board-certified sleep medicine physician gives patients a diagnosis in order to organize the most effective approach toward treatment. This is why attending follow-up appointments is crucial to treatment success, whether it is one or more times. After several weeks or months, the beginning phase of oral appliance therapy will be complete, depending on your situation. This evaluation phase better enables dentists to determine the best fit, appliance adaptation, overall function, etc.
Another essential step toward correcting a sleep disorder is ongoing care, whether short-term or long-term. Patients will want to ensure they are responding physically to their appliance in a positive manner, aside from keeping it comfortable as an effective type of treatment. Attending follow-up appointments is one of the most important ways to succeed during treatment. The experience of wearing an oral appliance doesn’t need to be complicated or uncomfortable. Most individuals notice they adjust to wearing the appliance in a matter of weeks.
Additional Benefits of an Oral Appliance
Overall, oral appliances are easy to carry while traveling due to their small, convenient size. This form of treatment for a sleep disorder is considered non-invasive and completely reversible. Additionally, patients who have difficulty managing the equipment associated with a CPAP machine find a mouth guard an easier treatment method. And, unlike a CPAP, patients don’t suffer from itchy noses and dried-out sinuses. Sufferers of sleep disorders who may be claustrophobic or deal with latex allergies don’t have to worry about oral appliances. And, possibly one of the most significant benefits is the ability to sleep in any position – even on their stomach. Patients often find themselves wondering, how do they work?
- Repositions the tongue, soft palate, lower jaw, and uvula
- Improves the tongue’s muscle tone
- Effectively stabilizes the tongue and lower jaw
Various Types of Oral Appliances
There are many oral appliances available on the market, and it can become overwhelming to choose just one. The search, however, can be further simplified by categorizing every available appliance into two groups. Either group is determined by a few significant themes, whether action or design.
- Mandibular Repositioning Appliance
Devices responsible for repositioning the mandibular also maintain the position of the lower jaw during sleep. The airways are sufficiently opened by bringing the tongue into a forward position and stimulating muscles to create a more rigid environment. Additionally, this type of oral appliance will keep the lower jaw in a stable position and other structures to keep the mouth from opening.
- Tongue Retaining Appliance
An appliance capable of holding the tongue in a forward position via a suction bulb is part of the tongue retaining appliance category. This method keeps the back of the tongue from collapsing during sleep, in a forward position, in order to keep airways clear at night.
Schedule A Sleep Consultation Today
As the top sleep clinic in Portland, Sleep Health Partners is committed to assisting patients in the treatment of their sleep issues through oral appliance therapy. Dr. Karim assists patients throughout the Portland area in getting the rest they need through cutting-edge sleep treatments. Schedule a consultation immediately or take our sleep quiz if you are experiencing any sleep-related issues. We look forward to helping you achieve a restful night of sleep.