Snoring and sleep apnea appliance therapy, termed Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) or Oral Sleep Appliance Therapy, work similarly in that they slightly advance the lower jaw and tongue which helps keep the airway open while you sleep. In very simple terms, people suffering from sleep apnea experience muscle relaxation when they fall asleep at night, causing their jaw and tongue to fall back into their throat, blocking their airway. Sleep apnea is a complex and dangerous condition that has been linked to many serious medical problems. It should never be taken lightly.
A partially blocked airway causes snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, where your airway is completely blocked and you start choking and gasping for breath. This cycles all night long and disrupts restful sleep, causing you to wake up tired. Oral appliances are small retainer-type devices that, when properly fit and adjusted by a qualified dentist with advanced training such as Dr. Allman, are well tolerated by patients and are most effective for patients that snore or are diagnosed with mild or moderate OSA.
Prior to treatment, it is important to make sure that you are a good candidate for appliance therapy by receiving a thorough examination of your jaw position and stability. Most candidates will have mild or moderate OSA. Those diagnosed with certain cases of severe sleep apnea can also be successfully treated. In fact, the American Sleep Disorders Association recommends dental appliance therapy for patients with severe OSA who are CPAP intolerant or refuse treatment with CPAP.
Once you have been deemed a good candidate for appliance therapy, Dr. Allman will work very closely with your sleep specialist, physician, and others in your health care circle throughout your treatment.