Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral Appliances are safe, non-invasive, effective therapy options for those who suffer from
obstructive sleep apnea. An oral appliance is a small device that is custom fit to the mouth to be worn
during sleep, similar to a night guard or retainer. These appliances help prevent the collapse of the
tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep to promote
adequate air flow. Patients with primarily snoring or mild/moderate OSA are the best candidates for Oral
Appliance Therapy. Those with severe OSA are recommended C-PAP Therapy but are candidates for
Oral Appliances if they cannot tolerate wearing a C-PAP.
Advantages of Oral Appliance
Oral Appliances are a much more tolerable solution to relieving sleep apnea symptoms.
- Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear.
- Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
- Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive.
- Oral appliances do not make noise, interfering with partners sleep.
How Oral Appliances Work
Since apneas occur when the airway collapses, preventing air from reaching the lungs, oral
appliances work to keep the airway open. They are designed to move the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate,
and uvula slight forward creating an open airway while asleep. These appliances also work to increase
the muscle tone of the tongue and move with muscles of the front part of the neck forward to open the
airway. Some appliances even have nasal dilators which can help to open the nasal passage to allow
better breathing through the nasal canal
Types of Appliances
The type and selection of the oral appliance right for you should be chosen by a dentist who is
dedicated to Dental Sleep medicine and Oral Appliance therapy. There are many appliances to choose
from. Considerations must include affect on the TMJ (temporal mandibular joint), Cranio-facial muscles,
nerves and tissues, the teeth, the bite, the anatomy of the soft palate and other intra-oral tissues, the
nose and nasal tissues, the size of the tongue and the space available in the mouth, gag reflexes,
medical co-morbidities among other anatomic and physiologic factors. Two major types of appliances are
1 -appliances where the upper and lower component ts are connected causing the upper and lower jaws
to be fixed and not being able to open; 2-the piece that fits on the upper jaw and the piece on the lower
jaw sit independent and do not connect. The patient is able to open and close while wearing the
appliance. This type of appliance is much kinder to the jaw joint and easier to wear on a long-term basis.
How Shore Dental SleepCare can help...
Dr. Young has been trained and certified in Dental Sleep Medicine in order to provide the best
care possible in relieving your sleep apnea. If you are referred for Oral Appliance Therapy, we will
schedule your consultation with Dr. Young in one of our locations. The initial evaluation phase of oral
appliance therapy includes examination, evaluation to determine the most appropriate oral appliance,
fitting, maximizing adaptation of the appliance, and the function. On-going care, including short- and longterm follow-up is an essential step in the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral
Appliance Therapy. Follow-up care serves to assess the treatment progress of your sleep apnea, the
condition of your appliance, your physical and medical response to your appliance, and to ensure that it is
comfortable and effective.