Sleep Apnea Appliances

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that not only can sometimes be fatal but can also be linked to many other adverse health conditions.  It is estimated that somewhere around 10% of men and 6% of woman over the age of 40 are affected by this disorder.  The startling truth about this disorder is that people affected by it will completely stop breathing during sleep and in severe cases this may take place hundreds of times throughout the night. The airway becomes obstructed which in turn leads to abnormal breathing and a significant reduction of airflow to your lungs.

Currently there are a large number of dental oral appliances on the market that can be used to successfully treat and manage this condition.  An oral devices’ primary function is either one of two things, either to retain the tongue from collapsing into and obstructing the airway, or to move the lower jaw slightly forward; hence accomplishing the same thing as to keep the airway from becoming obstructed.

The majority of patients that opt for oral appliance therapy to treat their apnea report that they no longer experience the loud snoring associated with sleep apnea and are getting a much more complete and healthy nights’ rest. An oral appliance work best with patients who are not significantly overweight and is a very viable alternative to CPAP therapy (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure).

Sleep apnea oral appliances fall into one of two categories: adjustable or fixed.  Below is a list of some of the more commonly used dental sleep appliances:

TAP® 3 (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)

The TAP® 3 is the smallest, most comfortable member of the TAP family.  It is a two-part custom-created sleep apnea appliance that fits over the teeth in much the same way as a sports mouthguard.  The TAP® 3 projects the jaw forward to prevent the tongue and soft tissues from impeding the airway.  The lower jaw positioner is adjustable, which means that it can be altered to suit the comfort level of the wearer.  The TAP® 3 appliance can accommodate the three main types of malocclusion, and allows the lips to fully close.

OASYS Appliance

The OASYS appliance is designed to move the base of the tongue toward the front of the mouth by gently repositioning the jawbone (mandible).  This shift opens the oropharynx and strengthens the upper airway.  An extension of the upper shield projects toward the nose, creating a larger nasal opening and less resistance to normal airflow.  This adjustable appliance is comfortable to wear and extremely patient friendly.

KlearwayTM Appliance

The KlearwayTM Appliance is generally used to alleviate obstructive sleep disorder and eliminate snoring.  The patient or dentist can project the jaw forwards in increments of .25mm at a time.  This ensures maximum comfort for the sleeper.  The KlearwayTM appliance is made from VariflexTM heat softening acrylic, which makes it easier to insert.  Running warm water over the appliance makes it pliable, but once placed in the desired position, the acrylic hardens again.

Herbst Telescopic Appliance

The Herbst appliance is held in the mouth by clasps and friction grips.  It is made of acrylic, and contains adjustable metal wiring.  The advantage of this appliance is that the wearer is able to move vertically and laterally without dislodging the appliance.  The Herbst appliance is usually used in mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea, and can also alleviate loud snoring effectively.

If you think you may have sleep apnea or are already diagnosed and are looking for an alternative to CPAP therapy than please contact us to set up an appointment with Dr. Patel.  Getting fitted for an oral appliance is a painless and easy process that could drastically change not only your life but your health. 

Somnomed Appliance

The Somnomed Appliance consists of an upper and lower appliance.  The design is streamlined with minimal bulk, which makes more room for the tongue.  The design provides both posterior and anterior bite support, therefore minimizing TMJ discomfort and injury due to grinding.

Strong Appliance

The Strong Appliance is a custom made fixed upper and lower appliance.  It can be used in combination with CPAP.   It is highly adaptable for patients with missing teeth.  The Strong Appliance is easily adjustable to help advance the jaw forward.