Oral appliance therapy is a particularly popular sleep apnea treatment. Sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues at the back of the throat go slack during sleep and cover up the airway opening. With oral appliance therapy, patients wear a custom-fitted oral appliance that re-positions the jaw or tongue so that the soft tissues are prevented from collapsing and obstructing the airway.
Because sleep apnea is associated with significant health risks, it’s important for patients to seek an effective treatment.
The oral appliance apnea treatment is a top choice for so many patients because it has a number of advantages over other interventions. A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask is highly effective, but also highly obtrusive, with the mask often disrupting patients’ sleep.
Furthermore, many patients hope to avoid surgery for sleep apnea, opting instead for a custom-designed oral appliance provided by an oral surgeon.
Although oral appliances tend to be the most convenient apnea treatment option, they do have some side effects, although they are minor.
Initially, patients may experience some minor discomfort, but that is likely to go away as the patient adjusts to the device. If jaw discomfort persists after a few weeks, patients should consult with the oral surgeon to see if the appliance needs to be adjusted.
After this initial adjustment period, most patients report positive experiences with oral appliance therapy. Patients also tend to be most compliant with this treatment method as it is easily accommodated into the patient’s normal lifestyle.
Oral appliance therapy has few other side effects, as long as the appliance fits properly. An ill-fitting device can lead to other oral health problems, so be sure that your oral surgeon is well-versed in oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea.
Remember that sleep apnea can be treated effectively, and the intervention will give you many health benefits. If you have any concerns about your sleep apnea treatment related to ongoing jaw soreness or any other issues, discuss them with your oral surgeon so they can be addressed. Contact ORA® Oral Surgery, Sleep Disorder & Implant Studio at 312-328-9000 to learn more.