Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is one of the most common sleep apnea disorders affecting millions of Americans daily. This type of sleep disorder usually occurs without most people knowing it is there, because the obstruction to the airway is blocked by the lax muscles at the back of the throat. An obstruction in the airway can occur due to a large or floppy tongue, excess tissue in the back of the throat, obesity, nasal obstruction, or an enlarged uvula or tonsils. Fortunately, simple oral appliances may be helpful to some patients. Oral appliances and dental mouth devices are small plastic devices that look similar to a mouth guard and are there to help keep your throat open overall. Your dental appliance can be custom made or designed to enlarge the airway in order to prevent the collapse of the upper airway. Most oral appliances are designed to open the throat by bringing the jaw forward. Using an oral appliance may rid you of the troublesome symptoms that sleep apnea can have on your body. Some of the main types of mouth devices used include Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) and Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP), or a Tongue Retaining Device.
Oral appliances and dental mouth devices are generally used for people only suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea. Patients with severe sleep apnea may not be good candidates for oral appliances. A more invasive option, such as the continuous positive airway pressure therapy, or CPAP therapy, may be necessary instead.
Prior to undergoing any form of treatment, you should have an initial evaluation with a board certified sleep specialist to determine how severe the sleep apnea is. Follow up with our provider of dental appliance for sleep apnea in Los Angeles every six months during your first year of treatment to assure that the appliance is still the right fit for you and to reassess your symptoms.