After undergoing a recommended sleep study and receiving a diagnosis of sleep apnea, a dental appointment with Klein Dentistry can help educate the patient about their treatment options. For patients of normal weight with mild to moderate sleep apnea, wearing an oral appliance may be a suitable option — they’re relatively inexpensive and have few side effects.
The most commonly used oral appliances are mandibular advancement devices, which look like mouthguards, but push the lower jaw forward. This helps the muscles that collapse during apneas tighten so that they can’t fall down. Most mandibular advancement devices are adjustable, so dentists can move the position of the jaw to make sure it’s working as effectively as possible.
If a patient is unable to adequately have their jaw repositioned forward, a tongue retaining mouthpiece may be used. They’re similar to mandibular advancement devices, but have a small compartment that fits around the tongue using suction to keep it held forward. This prevents it from collapsing back into the airway.