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Sleep Apnea / Oral Appliances


Oral Appliance Therapy - A Convenient Solution for Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition, which is usually caused by the obstruction of the air pathways, thus leading to repeated breathing pause throughout the night. The condition has serious side effects, which stems from the poor quality of sleep. Fortunately, there are treatment options for sleep apnea, with the most common medical solution being CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy, a breathing mask connected to a ventilator, which helps to keep your air pathways open when sleeping. However, for those people who cannot or do not want to wear a breathing mask when sleeping, alternative solutions are available, which is where we come in. At Portland City Dental, we offer oral appliance therapy, a dental solution to sleep apnea.

What is Oral Appliance Therapy?


Oral appliance therapy is a dental treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the use of removable oral appliances (worn in your mouth while sleeping) to keep your airways open. These dental appliances fit in your mouth cavity, just like other dental appliances such as retainers and mouthguards, thus allowing you to enjoy some form of comfort. For a perfect fit and increased comfort, these dental appliances can be custom made.

How Do Oral Appliances Help in Treating Sleep Apnea?


Oral appliances work by preventing your airways from collapsing as you are sleeping. This is achieved by:
•  Holding the tongue in a forward position to prevent it from falling back and blocking the airway. A tongue retaining oral appliance is used for this purpose.
•  Keeping the jaw in a forward position, thus preventing the surrounding tissues from collapsing back and blocking the airways. Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) are used for this function.

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy


Oral appliance therapy offers several benefits, including:
•  They are more comfortable and tolerable compared to CPAP breathing masks.
•  Oral appliances are small and less complicated to use, and thus you can easily carry them with you when traveling.
•  Since they are worn inside the mouth, they allow you much more relaxed sleep. This is very different from using a CPAP breathing mask where your movements are limited to avoid knocking off or becoming entangled with the machine.
•  Oral appliances allow for normal breathing, as opposed to the CPAP machine, which causes itchiness and dry mouth due to the high air pressure.
•  Aside from treating sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy also helps to reduce or stop snoring.
•  The oral devices can be more cost-effective compared to CPAP therapy.

Shortcomings of Oral Appliance Therapy


While it does offer numerous benefits, oral appliance therapy also has some shortcomings, which can include:
•  Discomfort when wearing the oral appliances, especially if they are not custom fitted.
•  The pressure from the oral devices can lead to TMJ problems.
•  The treatment might not work effectively in cases of severe sleep apnea.
•  The dental devices can lead to some dental problems such as loosening of dental restorations, bite changes, and sore gum tissues.

Are you concerned that you have sleep apnea? We, at Portland City Dental, can help. Call us today at (503) 867-8124 to find out more about this sleeping disorder, and the solutions that we can offer you to manage it.

138 SE 80th Ave
Portland, OR 97215-1522

Call Us: (503) 867-8124
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