Oral appliance therapy is an effective sleep apnea treatment, but it requires the oral surgeon to custom-design the appliance to fit the specific structure of the patient’s teeth and jaws. This process allows the appliance to do its work of positioning the jaw or tongue in a fashion that limits opportunity for tissue to obstruct the airway opening.
Patients who have postponed dental treatment, whether it’s routine care or a restoration or treatment for gum disease, sometimes express concern that getting the other treatment they need will delay their apnea treatment. Depending on what the dental treatment is, it could potentially alter the contour of the smile, affecting the fit of the oral appliance.
Fortunately, patients can still move forward with oral appliance therapy, even while they are undergoing other dental treatment. Prior to completion of the pending dental treatment, the oral surgeon can provide patients with a provisional or transitional appliance.
If there are extensive changes to the mouth structure, patients can then get an updated permanent appliance after the dental treatment has been completed.
When oral appliance therapy patients are facing some type of dental surgery, they should consult with their oral surgeon to see if they need to make any adjustments to their routine in the days immediately following the procedure. The patient may discontinue use of the appliance for just a few days if comfort or an increased risk of post-operative infection are concerns.
Patients should ask their oral surgeons if there are any other special considerations for oral appliance therapy with concurrent dental treatment. Ideally, the patient will be able to get relief from sleep apnea symptoms while simultaneously receiving care to boost their oral health.
Patients who have postponed dental care don’t need to postpone sleep apnea treatment, too. Also, consider the process of getting an oral appliance an opportunity to get back on track with a regular schedule for the rest of your dental care, too.