Dental/Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Dental sleep apnea devices or oral appliances are medical-grade “mouth guards” used as a non-surgical treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Pasha has been fitting these devices for several generations of appliance types. Initially, Dr. Pasha would “carve” each appliance by hand but now utilizes digital scanning with 3D printers to produce his appliances. 

Oral appliance therapy can be as effective in select patients as a CPAP machine, which means better sleep, reduction in snoring, and better health for our patients.

Benefits of Oral Appliances

  • Non-Surgical
  • Comfortable, low-profile design
  • Custom-fitted
  • Affordable
  • Silent
  • Easy to Wear
  • Patient-friendly design
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Usually covered by insurance

How Oral Appliances Work

Dental sleep devices prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues into the back of the throat, which reduces snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). 

When worn during sleep, the dental appliance supports the relaxed jaw, keeping it in a neutral or forward position. This maintains an open upper airway in the throat.

Most people who suffer from snoring or OSA have heard of a CPAP machine, a medical device that forces air into your airway. Both sleep apnea treatment options function similarly while you sleep: by stenting the upper airway preventing collapse of the airway to the lungs.

Oral Appliances vs CPAP Machines

Studies show that compliance in wearing the anti-sleep apnea dental device can be higher than that of a CPAP machine. As a result of this consistent use, patients with mild to severe sleep apnea have more restful sleep and lower their Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI), which is a measure of sleep apnea. The long-term effects of consistent, healthy sleep can has numerous benefits including improving your immune system, cardiac effects, as well as losing weight.

CPAP therapy can be a difficult sleep solution for some patients. Some patients’ bodies are more intolerant of receiving the forced air while they sleep. This natural discomfort with CPAP machines means patients are less likely to stick with the medical treatment schedule. Additional obstacles to successful CPAP treatment include ill-fitting CPAP masks, noisy machines that are difficult to transport, and skin irritation.

What about Over-The-Counter Dental Devices? 

Dr. Pasha does NOT recommend over-the-counter (OTC) devices such as PureSleep, ZQuiet, or Zyppah for several reasons.

  1. Before recommending any devices, Dr Pasha requires a complete upper airway exam as well as a sleep study to determine if you are even a candidate for an appliance. This determination is no easy task, and requires the knowledge of an experienced sleep specialist that focuses on the anatomical considerations as well as the severity of your snoring or sleep apnea. 
  2. OTC devices are generic and do not have the sophistication required to accurately determine the bite to avoid complications such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disease, teeth shifting, and bad occlusion,. 
  3. Dental devices require adjustments that are subtle to determine the exact positioning to be effective as well as to make the device comfortable and to avoid mouth irritation.
  4. OTC appliances use an impression mold bite model rather than a 3D digital scan which are much less accurate. 

How We Make OUR Dental Devices

Our office is unique to many practices in that we do NOT use impressions, which are messy and less accurate. Instead we utilize an in-office scanner for intraoral imaging that is very fast and incredibly accurate. This 10-minute process has the patient sitting comfortably in the chair while our experienced staff use our in-house 3Shape TRIOS scanner system to create a digital impression for the dental device.

Using a handheld scanner, the LED light and the latest Artificial Intelligence technology generate a high-quality 3D image of your teeth and soft tissue. This high-resolution 3D intraoral scan means the oral appliance will fit more comfortably with reduced tooth movement. The patient is up and out of the chair before they know it.

The image is then electronically transferred to our fabricator which produces the appliance. Our device is made of dense uniform acrylic. It’s the same hygienic, biocompatible material used in dental crowns. Its comfortable, low-profile design is 34% smaller than other devices, providing patients with more space for the tongue. It’s also engineered for continuous forward jaw advancement with precise, symmetrical adjustability.

Why Sleep Medicine Expertise Matters

Most people would think that a dental device requires going to a dentist. That would normally be true except that—like the sports mouth guard—purpose matters. Whether it’s preventing an injury on the playing field or making sure your teeth are healthy, the right treatment for your sleep problems requires the right experience.

That’s why it’s important to visit someone qualified in Sleep Medicine to treat your snoring or sleep apnea. Board-Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, Dr. Pasha also has a specialty certification in Sleep Medicine. Since your health depends so much on your sleep, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine actually recommends that oral appliance therapy should be overseen by experienced board-certified sleep specialists.

Dr. Pasha knows how harmful inexperience can be for a patient:

  • Asymmetrical advancements of the jaw
  • Excessive device titrations
  • Manufacturing errors

With over 20 years of experience, Dr. Pasha’s preferred dental solution and in-office processes:

  • Reduce the chance of error
  • Create more predictable adjustments
  • Improve overall outcomes
  • Good health starts with good sleep. Whether it’s a long-running joke among your family and friends or a weighing burden on your long-term health, there are many affordable options to treating snoring and sleep apnea. Find the right way to solve your sleeping problems to maximize your health’s potential!

How Anti-Snoring Oral Devices Can Work Better than CPAP Machines

Dr. Pasha addresses if anti-snoring mouthguards work on Great Day Houston.

Watch Here

Looking for an alternative to your C-PAP?

In previous blogs, we’ve discussed how sleep apnea may be a curable condition with weight management, in-office procedures, or surgery in many cases. But even for those who cannot “fix” their sleep apnea, there are still ways to address your condition without C-PAP machines.

Read More

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