Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Using Dental Appliances For Sleep Apnea Is An Effective Alternative To CPAP

By Ines Brennan

Patients experiencing the condition known as sleep apnea suffer from periods of shallow respiration or even no respiration while they are sleeping. Some patients are recommended to use a CPAP machine (continuous positive airway pressure), but this isn't appropriate for everyone. The use of dental appliances for sleep apnea is another approach which is simple and can also be effective for establishing normals respiratory patterns.

There are many types of appliances which can prevent sleep apnea which work in different ways. Some reposition the lower jaw while others hold the tongue in a forward position. Although such devices can be obtained rather easily, including ordering them online, it is always best to visit a dentist or orthodontist who specializes in this kind of treatment. They will be able to provide patients with custom-fitted appliances which are more effective than those which are ready to wear and not made to specifications.

The dental professional will make some plaster impressions of the patient's teeth. These molds are used to fashion the appliance based on the specific dimensions and shape of the mouth. If the device is made especially for the patient it will fit better making it more comfortable and effective at achieving its purpose.

There are also other evaluations that need to be done in order to ensure that the device is made to proper fit. Another set of molds will be made and sent to a laboratory where the appliance will be created. When the patient returns he or she will receive the apparatus and the dentist will perform any adjustments that may be needed for fit and comfort.

Most anti-apnea devices are worn similar to a retainer, there may be some slight discomfort at first but this is normal and in most cases the patient gets used to it without problem. However, if there is any pain in the jaw, especially the temporomandibular joint, this must be pointed out to the dentist as another approach may be needed. People who suffer from TMJ are not good candidates for using these appliances. Any discomfort in the jaw needs to be closely watched, in order to prevent a problem from developing.

During the course of the treatment period, the patient's lower jaw will gradually move forward more. This is usually most noticeable once about six months of treatment have passed. This is part of the process and it lends itself to the safety and effectiveness of the appliance.

The patient will also need to attend a sleep study session after several weeks of treatment. This is done to determine if the approach has successfully eliminated or reduced the occurrence of apnea. It is advisable to undergo this assessment in the same facility where the first diagnostic was carried out, in order to allow easier comparison of results.

Dental appliances for sleep apnea are a good solution for many people who do not wish to use a CPAP machine. It is important to make sure the device fits and works right and only obtain it through the direction of a dental care provider who is familiar with this area of treatment. Sometimes it is necessary to make changes in order to produce better results.

About the Author:

No comments: