Oral Appliance Therapy
If you’re struggling with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), our office at Lanier Valley Dentistry will provide you with the best oral appliance therapy. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition that results from irregular relaxation of the throat muscles, leading to the blockage of the airway while you sleep. Snoring is the most obvious symptom of the condition.
Because obstructive sleep apnea disrupts your sleep, compromising the quality of rest you can get, our team intervenes to help you reverse this situation by providing high-quality oral appliance therapy. We will initially confirm that you truly suffer from OSA before proceeding to propose a therapy solution.
Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnea
We work as a team, and our professional sleep physician will examine you for a conclusive diagnosis of OSA. We will test your mouth, nose, and throat for any abnormalities and proceed to conduct a polysomnography or sleep study. This procedure will help us track your breathing pattern, the heart rate, the movement of your eyes, arms, and legs, your brain activity, and the levels of oxygen in your blood. The observation will be done for half or the entire night, or several nights. Doing this will enable us to establish that you truly suffer from OSA and rule out other sleep disorders. We will also understand the severity of your condition.
Our sleep physician may also assess your case history by asking if you have noticed any of the OSA related symptoms. These include loud snoring, gasping while sleeping, a dry mouth upon awakening, feeling excessively sleepy during the day among others. With this information, our team will devise an appropriate oral appliance therapy for you.
Delivering Oral Appliance Therapy
We discourage buying over-the-counter oral appliances and, instead, advise that one be custom made for you to fit your teeth and bite. Our dental sleep disorders specialist will digitally customize an oral appliance for you or fit existing impressions to decide what works for you. Oral appliances for the treatment of apnea hold the tongue downwards or support the upper and lower jaw to ensure an open airway. The appliances’ cosmetic appearance resembles the mouthguard used by sportspersons to protect their jaw and teeth.
Depending on the diagnosis we have made on your case, our sleep disorders dentist may recommend a tongue retaining appliance or the more popular mandibular reposition appliance. The tongue retaining appliance has features similar to those of the mandibular reposition appliance but is made with a unique part where the patient fits the tongue. The function of this compartment is to hold the tongue forward and prevent it from retreating and blocking the airway. The mandibular alternative has two pieces that hold the upper and lower jaw with the support of a metal hinge between them. The lower jaw is pushed slightly forward to leave the throat area clear and allow regular breathing during sleep.
While all this may sound complicated, when you seek oral appliance therapy with us, our specialist will take time to explain to you how it all works. Our sleep disorders dentist will also fit the appliance to ensure that it is effective and make any necessary adjustments. If you have disturbed sleep or have questions regarding oral appliance therapy, do not hesitate to call Lanier Valley Dentistry at (678) 802-8654 for a conclusive diagnosis and OSA if need be.