Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Snoring occurs when the passages at the back of the mouth and nose are partially obstructed. The sound comes from when the soft tissue structures of the upper airway collapse onto themselves and vibrate against each other during a breath. Although snoring can be harmless, it can also be a sign of a more serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse on the back of throat. This blocks the upper airway and stops airflow. Another condition known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is midway between snoring and OSA. Many of the same symptoms of OSA occur in individuals with UARS.
Standards of Care
Lifestyle changes such as good sleep, hygiene, exercise, and weight loss are some treatments a patient can practice on their own. However, there are three primary medical and dental treatments for snoring and OSA: CPAP, Oral Appliance Therapy, and Surgery.
Who Might Benefit From Oral Appliance Therapy?
Patients with primary snoring or mild OSA who do not respond to, or are not candidates for treatments, such as weight loss or change in sleep position.
Patients with moderate to severe OSA who have initially tried nasal CPAP and are intolerant or for patients who refuse treatment with nasal CPAP.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances are worn in the mouth similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. These appliances help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat keeping the airway opened and unobstructed. There are numerous appliances that have been approved through the FDA for treatment of snoring and/or sleep apnea.
What are the Steps Involved in Oral Appliance Therapy?
It involves the selection, design, fitting, and use of a custom designed oral appliance that is worn during sleep. Both short and long-term follow-up is an essential step in the treatment of snoring and OSA. It serves to assess the treatment of your sleep disorder, the condition of your appliance and to ensure that it is comfortable and effective.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
- Comfortable and easy to wear
- Small and convenient making them easy to travel with
- Treatment is reversible and non-invasive