If you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and your doctor has told you that a sleep apnea appliance is an appropriate therapy for you, Dr. Stephen J. Pyle "Weston’s first dentist" wants to offer some tips on what to consider and what to expect when selecting an appliance.
Your doctor has probably already told you that a sleep apnea appliance fits in your mouth much like a sports guard or retainer and that you wear it at night to minimize the snoring and gasping that comes with sleep apnea. The net result for most people with mild to moderate OSA is a better night’s sleep and more energy during the day.
Compared to the alternative CPAP therapy which requires wearing a mask and being tethered to an air pump, a dental appliance offers far more comfort and convenience and in most cases is equally efficient. However, like any new therapy you need to understand what’s involved and what your expectations should be.
To help you with your introduction to sleep apnea appliances Dr. Pyle recommends:
- Select your Weston dentist carefully. Not every dentist is qualified to provide dental appliances for sleep apnea. When you select a dentistry practice for your therapy make certain that the dentist follows the standards established by The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine to ensure you will be receiving professional care.
- First sleep apnea visit. Your dentist will examine your entire mouth and take a physical or digital mold of your teeth which will be used in the custom design of your appliance. When the appliance is ready it should fit comfortably in your mouth and not impede your breathing or ability to speak. The device will slightly reposition your jaw to ensure your airway remains open while you sleep.
- Side effects. Your device is custom fitted but you may experience slight facial pain or sore jaw muscles when you first use it. Typically this discomfort disappears within an hour of removing the device and disappears entirely once your jaw muscles become adapted to the repositioning. Your dentist may make several adjustments over a period of time to achieve optimal performance.
- Effectiveness. If you suffer a very mild case of sleep apnea you will see results almost immediately. For most people however, it will take an adjustment or two to get the full benefit.
If you have any questions about a sleep apnea appliance or any of the dental services we offer at our Weston practice, please call us today. We are always happy to assist!