Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea in Covington
Custom fitted Oral Appliances can be very effective for treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, OSA. As an alternative to a bulky CPAP machine, a custom-fitted oral appliance is often more comfortable, so you and your bed partner can get a restful night of sleep.
An oral appliance for OSA fits much like a sports mouth guard. The device is only worn while you sleep and slightly shifts your lower jaw forward. In this position, your airway remains open and unrestricted by your tongue or tissue in your throat.
Covington dentist Dr. James Moreau has worked closely with New Orleans and St. Tammany physicians to treat snoring and sleep apnea for nearly 10 years. Based on the severity of your condition, your physician and Dr. Moreau will work together to ensure only the safest and most effective treatment.
Advantages of an Oral Appliance
CPAP has long been considered the gold standard in treatment of sleep breathing disorders. But many patients are intolerant of the bulky, noisy machine and end up not using it. So the oral appliance has moved to the forefront and is widely accepted by professionals as a very effective alternate to CPAP. Here are some of the advantages of using an oral appliance:
- Nearly or equally as effective as CPAP in most cases
- Patients are more compliant
- Comfortable and easy to use and maintain
- Portable and easier to travel with
- Easier to care for and clean.
- Is usually covered by your medical policy, even if you’ve already tried CPAP
Oral appliance therapy is an excellent treatment choice for mild to moderate cases of sleep breathing disorders. However, even in severe cases, under certain conditions, your physician may approve and prescribe an oral appliance. This is because intolerance of other methods of treatment (CPAP) is very high among sleep apnea patients and therefore compliance is very low. Rather than leaving the disorder untreated, an oral appliance may provide the necessary level of treatment to extend your life.
If left untreated, sleep apnea is linked to a number of diseases and illnesses including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Irritability and moodiness
- Premature death
Fitting an Oral Appliance
At your visit, Dr. Moreau will do a thorough head and neck evaluation to examine your jaw, tongue and airway. A new set of digital x-rays may be necessary, too. He will review your latest sleep study (PSG, or polysomnogram), so be sure to bring a copy (or we can get a copy from your physician). If Dr. Moreau determines that you are a good candidate for an oral appliance is warranted, then we’ll take impressions of your teeth. This will be sent to our lab where your oral appliance will be made.
It’s important to note that this head and neck evaluation is not the same as a dental exam. You will still need to have your teeth and gums checked and cleaned regularly by your general dentist.
When the appliance is ready, you’ll return to our office for a fitting. The appliance may need slight adjusting in order to fit most comfortably and effectively. We’ll also spend some time explaining how to keep your oral appliance clean.
Dr. Moreau will want to see you for a follow-up visit to ensure the proper fit of your appliance and to hear how you’re doing. Oral appliances for snoring and sleep apnea usually require several adjustments in the first 6-8 weeks. This is because Dr. Moreau will gradually advance the position of your jaw to get maximum benefit without stressing your jaws. We’ll schedule a 6-month follow-up appointment and then monitor you annually thereafter.
Peace of Mind
Rest assured that Dr. Moreau strictly adheres to the protocols and works in strict compliance with the guidelines written jointly by the AADSM and American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
This is important because sleep apnea is a serious medical condition. Oral appliance therapy requires a dental/medical team approach in your care. Sleep Apnea can only be diagnosed by a physician, and for your safety Dr. Moreau will only treat patients in conjunction with your medical doctor.
While there are a very large number of devices to choose from, you can feel confident that the device provided to you by Dr. Moreau is FDA approved.
Results of Oral Appliance Therapy
If worn nightly, your new oral appliance for sleep apnea or snoring can help you sleep better at night. As a result, you will likely feel more alert and functional during the day. In addition, your overall health may improve as well since your nighttime oxygen levels are being maintained.
If you believe that you or someone you love suffers from sleep apnea in Covington, Mandeville, Slidell or the greater New Orleans area, call us now at (985) 809-7645 for a free screening tool. Or if you can no longer tolerate your CPAP machine, contact Dr. Moreau today to schedule a thorough evaluation.
Read more about this topic on our MoreSMILES blog.