types of treatments available
at a sleep apnea dentist are perfect for those who are either not a
suitable candidate for CPAP therapy, or are just sick of using a bulky,
uncomfortable CPAP mask and machine.
sleep apnea dentist is a fully licensed dentist who also has a separate
license in dental sleep medicine, specifically how to
treat sleep apnea
through the use of either oral appliance therapy or in some cases
surgery on the upper respiratory tract.
you are looking for a
dentist in your area that is certified in dental sleep medicine, we
recommend that you always ask whether or not the dentist is accredited
by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM).
always choose an AADSM accredited dentist if at all possible, although
there are currently only
15 or so such dental offices in the U.S.
AADSM was only formed in 2004, which is one of the reasons that
their membership is still quite low, along with their strict
accreditation policy, although the number of accredited members is
of Oral Appliance Therapy in Sleep Apnea Dentistry
of the most used tools in the sleep apnea dentistry repertoire is
oral appliances, otherwise known as sleep
apnea mouthpieces, mouth guards, or
retainers. These types of devices are used to help realign the jaw and
straighten and realign the teeth.
doing this, the dentist is often
able to reduce or even eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea, as well
as other disorders such
as TMJ. In fact, these two often go hand in
hand, as improper tooth and jaw alignment can be one of the major
contributing factors for both of these disorders.
speaking, there are two different types of oral appliances
used to treat sleep apnea. The first type is what is known as a
advancement device. This type of dental sleep device is
similar in appearance to a simple sports mouth guard, and is used to
gently move the lower jaw forward and keep it slightly open.
allows the airway to remain open and rids the wearer of some of the
airway obstruction that was contributing to their apneas. This type of
device is mostly used by those whose airway is obstructed due to soft
palate tissue or the uvula.
people whose airway is typically obstructed by their tongue (often
those with a larger than average tongue), most sleep apnea dentists
recommend the use of a different dental sleep device known as a tongue
retraining device. This type of oral appliance is actually
a type of
splint which basically holds the tongue in place to keep it from
falling back and blocking the airway.
of Dental Sleep Devices
of the major problems that many people have with both types of oral
sleep devices is that they can be somewhat uncomfortable and must be
worn every night for the rest of your life.
when compared to
using a CPAP machine, most patients prefer the oral appliance as it is
to get used to sleeping with it than with a noisy CPAP
machine. In general, if you suffer from sleep apnea, you will need to
get used to sleeping with some type of device, and many find the oral
appliances to be the much better option.
associated with dental sleep devices is that they simply do not work as well
as CPAP for treating sleep apnea sufferers. This is why they are never
recommended for those with severe sleep apnea, as it can be dangerous for these
people to ever sleep without the use of CPAP. In fact, the
AADSM recommends the use of oral sleep devices especially for those
with only mild to
moderate forms of the disorder.
of the other major issues associated with dental sleep devices is
that, while being very effective for stomach or back sleepers, they
have very little effect
on patients who sleep on their sides. The
final common complaint about these dental devices is that they tend to
be quite expensive because they must be custom fitted and continually
readjusted, however they are very much recommended over the dental
devices available over the counter.
despite these few negatives, dental sleep devices have many
fewer risks associated with them and are proven to be a better long
term solution that many other options, including surgeries
uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP; the main surgery used to treat sleep
Surgery to Treat Sleep Apnea
most cases, surgery is only recommended for a sleeping disorder
after all other treatment options have been exhausted. In fact, many
doctors will only perform surgery in such cases as sleep apnea caused
by a severely deviated
surgery is still quite common for
snoring and sleep apnea sufferers, and many sleep dentists offer upper
airway surgery as a treatment option.
are quite a few different types of upper airway surgery that are
performed to help deal with sleeping disorders.
of the most common
surgeries is maxilomandibular
advancement, which is a surgical
procedure where the jaws are pulled forward to help tighten the soft
surgery is incredibly effective with success rates
ranging from 94 to 100%. Still, after this surgery it will
be necessary to have your jaw wired shut for up to several weeks or
even a month.
common type of dental sleep surgery uses traditional surgery,
laser, or even radio waves to help shrink the soft palate, uvula, and
sometimes even the tongue. This again helps to shrink and tighten these
tissues which will help lessen the obstructions of the airways.
to Sleep Apnea Surgery
to the Snoring