Oral appliance therapy is an effective and comfortable treatment option for many patients with obstructive sleep apnea, severe snoring, or other sleep-related breathing disorders. Dr. Puja Thakkar has extensive experience helping patients with sleep disorders get the best treatment for their condition, including a customized oral appliance. If you have questions about a specific sleep problem or would like to know more about the benefits of oral appliance therapy, call one of the offices in Danville or Fremont, California or book an appointment online.
Oral appliance therapy involves the use of a mouthpiece to keep your airway open while you sleep. Dr. Thakkar may recommend an oral appliance for sleep-related breathing disorders such as upper airway resistance syndrome and hypopnea, but it’s most often used to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Muscles naturally relax when you sleep, allowing soft tissues like your tongue to fall back toward your throat, wholly or partially covering your airway.
Snoring occurs when your airway is partially blocked; sleep apnea occurs when you briefly and repeatedly stop breathing because the airway is obstructed.
The first hint that you have sleep apnea often comes from a partner or someone living in your house who comments on your loud snoring. You’ll also be tired during the day and may have a headache or dry mouth when you wake up.
Oral appliances, also called mandibular advancement devices, work by gently pushing your lower jaw (mandible) forward.
The slight movement of your jaw prevents airway obstruction by enlarging the opening of your airway and holding your tongue forward, so it can’t fall back and cover the airway.
Although your symptoms are good clues you have obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Thakkar performs a thorough exam to reach an accurate diagnosis and determine whether you have underlying health conditions that may contribute to your problem.
Dr. Thakkar may recommend a sleep study to measure the frequency and severity of your apnea episodes. A sleep study is the only test available to assess breathing and determine which treatment is best for your health.
Once Dr. Thakkar prescribes an oral appliance, she works together with a dental specialist to be sure your treatment is effective.
Your dental specialist measures your jaw movement and makes an impression of your mouth; then the mold is sent to a lab where your mouthpiece will be produced.
Oral appliances are made from two pieces that are molded to fit over your upper and lower teeth. The upper and lower mouthpieces are connected with a mechanism that’s adjusted by the dentist to move your jaw forward.
You’ll have regular follow-up appointments to monitor your progress and adjust the device as necessary.
To learn more about oral appliances, call Golden Gate Sleep Centers or book an appointment online.