Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that can be serious and even fatal if left untreated. A patient with sleep apnea can stop breathing completely while sleeping, several or even hundreds of times every night. The natural airways of the body become obstructed in some people while they sleep due to several factors blocking normal airflow to the lungs, thus keeping normal oxygen levels from reaching the brain and other vital parts of the body.
There are a handful of different dental devices and appliances that our dentist, Dr. Kelly McDonough can use to help you manage or correct this condition. What these appliances do is separate the jaws and push them frontward. The repositioning that results from this adjustment can open the airway, allowing the patient to breathe freely while they sleep, cutting down on loud snoring and allowing for more restful sleep. For patients who are not considerably overweight, these oral appliances can provide an alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines.
Sleep apnea appliances can either be fixed or adjustable. Here are a few common appliances that we use at McDonough Family Dental.
TAP® 3 (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)
This is the smallest of the TAP line of products. It is a custom-made appliance in two parts that fits on the teeth like a sports mouthguard. Pushing the jaw forward, the TAP® 3 prevents the tongue and other soft tissues of the mouth from blocking your airway. With an adjustable lower jaw positioner, the TAP 3 can be worn in a way that is comfortable for you. This product accommodates the three main forms of malocclusion, and your lips will be able to fully close while wearing it.
The OASYS pushes the base of the tongue forward through a slight repositioning of the lower jaw, opening the oropharynx and strengthening the upper airway. An extension on the upper part of the appliance allows the nostrils to dilate, allowing you to breathe more freely through your nose while sleeping, encouraging better airflow.
This appliance is typically used to minimize obstructions and stop the patient from snoring. By adjusting the appliance, you can move the jaw forward in .25mm increments. With such precision, the Klearway™ can provide high levels of comfort for the wearer. Made from Variflex™ heat softening acrylic, this appliance can be made pliable with warm water, rehardening when placed where it needs to go.
Herbst Telescopic Appliance
This appliance maintains its position in the mouth with clasps and friction grips. The Herbst appliance consists of acrylic and adjustable metal wiring. A great feature of this appliance is that you are able to move your jaw vertically and horizontally without dislodging it. It is particularly useful for cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea, mitigating the wearers loud snoring.
If you have more questions about our sleep apnea appliances in Dana Point, California, please give us a call today at 949-487-7779 for more information and set up an appointment today.