For patients suffering from sleep apnea, getting the right treatment for their condition is of the utmost importance. The longer your condition goes untreated, the greater risk you have of developing secondary health consequences. While there are plenty of options, not all treatments work the same for every patient. At Progressive Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our goal is to educate individuals on their options then determine the right solution for their lifestyle.
What are My Options:
Thanks to improved awareness, there are now a number of treatment options for patients with different forms of sleep apnea. In general, the treatments for OSA may include:
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy
- Behavioral Modification (Weight loss, sleep posture)
- Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
While physicians often like to start with CPAP therapy because of its effectiveness, the treatment has its downsides. As the treatment relies on a face mask in order to properly push air through the nose and mouth, many wearers find the mask uncomfortable to wear and difficult to acclimate to. CPAP also restricts an individual’s nighttime movements, making the treatment uncomfortable for patients used to sleeping on their sides or on their stomach. Partners may also find the CPAP machine to be noisy and difficult to sleep next to. As a result, CPAP therapy non-compliance rates are especially high. As an alternative, Dr. McCoy offers oral appliance therapy (OAT).
Why Oral Appliance Therapy?
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, the first choice for mild to moderate OSA should be custom oral appliance therapy. Unlike CPAP which forces air into the nose to prevent pauses in breathing, these upper and lower appliances interact to hold your lower jaw in a forward position while you sleep. This change in jaw position helps stop snoring and opens the airway for healthier sleep.
There are a number of advantages that accompany OAT. For starters, these retainer-like devices are custom made to each patient. As a result, every appliance is made to fit comfortably in your mouth. With OAT, comfort and bulkiness are the first priority. While is is often necessary to make several adjustments on these appliances to optimize the effectiveness of treatment, it doesn’t take long for patients to acclimate for treatment. As the appliances are made custom to each smile, patients often find the treatment to be easy to wear and comply with treatment. Even more importantly, OAT patients awaken each morning refreshed and ready to go.
Types of Oral Appliances
Like every other procedure, choosing the best treatment for your sleep apnea starts with understanding your condition. During your initial visit to our Glen Mills office, Dr. McCoy will review your sleep test and explain the results to you. We’ll then ask several questions regarding your medical conditions and complete an oral exam. Once we’ve determined you’re a candidate for oral appliance therapy, we’ll walk you through your different options.
At Progressive Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the importance of tailored care. Our Glen Mills dental sleep apnea specialists work with six different designs, each of which are custom made to fit your mouth and improve your life.
- Narval CC
- TAP and Dream TAP
While there are a number of over the counter options or products easily available via Internet, generic oral appliances are generally a poor fit and improperly adjusted, opening the door for temporomandibular joint problems in the future. For the best results, it’s important that patients come in for a consultation with our dental sleep apnea specialist in Glen Mills.