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Rationale for oral appliances

Oral Appliances for snoring and sleep apnea work by repositioning the jaw and tongue more forward during sleep. This helps open the airway by moving the tongue and all the structures attached to it forward. For many obstructive sleep apnea sufferers, the restriction to breathing is centered is the area behind the tongue, from the uvula down to the vocal cords. A small repositioning forward can make a substantial change in amount of open airway. More air flowing brings less noise, more restful sleep, and happier bed partners.

Effectiveness of oral appliances

At Louisville Dental Sleep Medicine we have found that if someone has a problem that involves snoring only, oral appliance therapy is approximately 85% effective.

When treating apnea, oral appliances are 65-70% effective, depending on the severity of the apnea, The appliance tends to be more effective for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea than for severe.

Indications for oral appliances

Oral appliances are indicated for medically diagnosed sleep apnea, with or without CPAP experience. The sleep physician may recommend an oral appliance as a first choice for mild to moderate sleep apnea. Often patients seen at Louisville Dental Sleep Medicine are those with issues concerning intolerance or difficulty wearing a Constant Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) unit.

Loud snoring that bothers others' sleep is also an indication for an oral appliance. Without a medically diagnosed condition, medical insurance is unlikely to provide benefits, but the appliances are very useful in reducing snoring.


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