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Oral Appliance Therapy



Woman covering ears while husband snoresAt Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we recommend oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea and loud snoring. It involves placing a removable apparatus in your mouth before going to sleep. The device resembles a night mouthguard or a splint.

What Does Oral Appliance Therapy Involve


An oral appliance prevents your airway from sagging down by either repositioning your jaw or holding your tongue. Some types of oral appliances, like night mouthguards, are available in pharmacies. However, they come in one-size-fits-all, and their use is strongly discouraged to treat sleep apnea. To have a successful therapy, your oral appliance needs to be custom-fitted to your mouth.

This treatment is less intrusive than sleeping with a CPAP device, so many patients prefer it.

At Kevin Kay DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Kevin Kay is trained in dental sleep medicine and can fit you with an oral appliance once you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea. This therapy is effective for people with mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea.

Types of Oral Appliance Therapy


There are several different types of oral appliances that can be used to treat snoring and sleep apnea. The two most common ones are described here:
•  Mandibular Repositioning Device: These are custom-fitted mouth appliances that are designed to slide your lower jaw forward and down so that your airway remains open even if the back of your throat muscles collapse while you are sleeping. Mandibular repositioning devices are the most common type of oral appliances. Some people may experience tooth or jaw pain because of these devices.
•  Tongue Retaining Devices: These devices hold your tongue in place and prevent it from retreating to your throat. This keeps your airways open.

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy


Oral appliances are quite effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea and hence offer multiple benefits:
•  Health Benefits: By treating sleep apnea, oral appliances can reduce the risk of hypertension, heart disorders, diabetes, and stroke. They also keep you alert during the day, and improve your concentration and mood.
•  Easy to Use: Oral appliances are very easy to wear and remove, so many patients prefer them over other more intrusive devices. It may take you a few weeks to get used to the feeling of a retention device in your mouth while sleeping.
•  Easy to Transport: Oral appliances are very small and can easily be carried in your purse or luggage while you are traveling.

Potential Side Effects of Oral Appliance Therapy


You may experience some minor side effects and complications due to oral appliance therapy. These include:
•  Excess saliva.
•  Dry mouth.
•  Tooth pain.
•  Exacerbation of temporomandibular disorders.
•  Temporary change in bite.

These issues can be identified by Dr. Kevin Kay and can be managed accordingly.

Since there are a few different types of oral appliances, it may take some experimenting to find the one that best fits you and is effective in treating your symptoms. It is also important that you schedule regular checkup appointments with us so that we can monitor you for any issues and adjust your oral appliance as needed. To schedule an appointment with us, call us at (425) 738-8476 today.