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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