Oral Appliance Therapy - Somnodent ApplianceOral Appliances are placed in the mouth and are worn much like an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth protector. They are worn during sleep to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat so that the airway stays open during sleep. The appliances promote adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep in people who snore and have sleep apnea.

Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other means of therapy such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). Determination of proper therapy can only be made by joint consultation of our office and your sleep physician.

The Practice Parameters published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2006 include oral appliances as a first line of therapy in the standard of care for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

According to the guidelines, oral appliances (OAs) are indicated

For patients with mild to moderate OSA who prefer OAs to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), and in all cases for those who do not respond to CPAP, are not appropriate candidates for CPAP, or who fail treatment attempts with CPAP or treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep position change.1

Oral appliance therapy for sleep disordered breathing has repeatedly been validated and shown to be efficacious.2,3 Studies have shown compliance rates as high as 95% with oral appliance therapy.4,5 Because compliance rates are so high with oral appliance therapy, it can be a very effective treatment for patients over a long period of time.

1 Kushida CA, Morgenthaler TI, Littner MR, Alessi CA, Bailey D, Coleman J, Jr, et al. Practice parameters for the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with oral appliances: an update for 2005. Sleep 2006;29(2):240-43.
2 Ferguson K, Cartwright R, Rogers R, Schmidt-Nowara W. Oral appliances for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea: a review. Sleep 2006;29(2):244-62.
3 Hoekema A, Stegenga B, De Bont LG. Efficacy and co-morbidity of oral appliances in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea-hypopnea: a systematic review. Crit Rev Oral Biol Med 2004;15(3):137-55.
4 Pancer J, Al-Faifi S, Al-Faifi M, Hoffstein V. Evaluation of Variable Mandibular Advancement Appliance for Treatment of Snoring and Sleep Apnea. Chest 1999;116(6):1511-18.
5 Skinner MA, Robertson CJ, Kingshott RN, Jones DR, Taylor DR. The efficacy of a mandibular advancement splint in relation to cephalometric variables. Sleep Breath 2002;6(3):115-24.

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Diagnosing OSA

While qualified Dentists play an important role in treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Dentists are not permitted to diagnose Sleep Apnea.