Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical disorder that affects around 10% of American men over the age of 40, and 6% of American women of the same age. Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed, causing a serious reduction of airflow to the lungs.
There are a number of dental devices that can be used to alleviate this condition. The goal of most of these devices is to separate the jaws and push them forward slightly. This slight repositioning opens up the airway, and allows oxygen to flow freely again. Wearers of sleep apnea dental devices report that they stop loud snoring, feel more rested in the daytime, and are much more comfortable going to sleep. Sleep apnea appliances work best on patients who are not significantly overweight. They offer a viable alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
Sleep apnea appliances fall into two categories: fixed and adjustable. Here are brief descriptions of some commonly used sleep apnea dental appliances:
A Village Green favorite! It is easily adjustable, not very bulky with good tongue space.
For patients who do not like the idea of not being able to open their mouth.
Great for the heavy bruxer; very durable.
Great for patients with small mouths who can not tolerate a large appliance in their mouth. Not good for moderate or severe apnics.
The TAP® 3 appliance can accommodate the three main types of malocclusion, and allows the lips to fully close.
This adjustable appliance is comfortable to wear and patient friendly.
The KlearwayTM Appliance is generally used to alleviate obstructive sleep disorder and eliminate snoring.
Herbst Telescopic Appliance
The Herbst appliance is held in the mouth by clasps and friction grips. The Herbst appliance is usually used in mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea, and can also alleviate loud snoring effectively.
If you have questions or concerns about sleep apnea appliances, please ask us! Dr. Richard Hutchins is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and would love to speak to you about your concerns.