Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Dr. Dexter is a member of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), which is is the leading national organization for dentists who treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy – an effective alternative to the traditionally-prescribed continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. He is the only dentist in Lane County with the qualified designation who can provide oral appliance therapy.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a chronic sleep disorder in which you have pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. This sleep disruption can contribute to or cause health problems that can affect the quantity or quality of life.
Different people have different symptoms of sleep apnea, some mild and others more severe.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
An oral appliance is a small acrylic device that fits over the upper and lower teeth or tongue (similar to an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard). This device holds the jaw in place or slightly advances the lower jaw or tongue, moving the base of the tongue forward and opening the airway. This improves breathing and reduces snoring and apnea.
The appliance is fabricated and customized for each patient by a dentist with advanced training in the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. The appliances are typically comfortable and well tolerated by the patients. They are relatively easy to place and remove, easy to clean and are convenient for travel.
How Do I Know If I Need Oral Appliance For Sleep Apnea?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AADSM) has stated that an oral appliance is indicated as a first treatment of choice for patients with primary snoring, patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea who prefer the appliance to CPAP, and as a second treatment option for patients with severe sleep apnea who cannot tolerate CPAP.
What to Expect on Your First Visit
Your visit to our office will include a thorough history and head, neck and throat evaluation to assess your situation. This information is correlated with testing to establish an accurate diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment options. We will coordinate your care with your sleep physician and dentist to help resolve the snoring or apnea condition.
Temporary Side Effects
There are a number of temporary side effects that may be noticeable during the first few weeks or may require minor adjustment of the appliance by the dentist. These include:
• Tension in the jaw
• Sore teeth or gums
• Excessive salivation or a dry mouth
• Temporary change in the bite when appliance is removed in the morning
• Noises in the jaw joint (TMJ)
Potential side effects
• Jaw muscle or joint pain
• Permanent changes in the bite
• Slight movement of teeth
• Loosening of dental restorations (crowns, bridges, etc.)
Like all treatments, success is not guaranteed but we will make our best effort to maximize the potential benefit and minimize the potential side effects.
Long Term Benefits
Since sleep apnea is a long-term chronic condition, the treatment is an ongoing process that requires a commitment by both the patient and the provider. Treatment with an oral appliance is more than a “fit it and quit it” approach to care. In order to provide comprehensive care and achieve optimum results and minimize and manage possible side effects, it is important to recognize that long term benefit requires long term care. I look forward to working with you to provide the care that you need to attain the health that you expect. I am committed to your care.