For select patients with mild sleep apnea or positional snoring, a dental or oral appliance may be considered. Dental appliances are similar to orthodontic retainers. They are worn in the mouth while sleeping to help expand the back of the throat. Some of the devices hold the lower jaw forward during sleep, while other appliances directly affect tongue position. The advantages of oral appliances are that it is non-invasive and is much easier to travel with than a CPAP machine.
In order to reduce teeth shifting, Dr. Pasha only offers custom-fitted appliances that he makes in his own office. Fitting the oral device allows the guard to work with your specific bite. The appliance is two, adjustable pieces to enable the lower jaw to be advanced forward, bringing the tongue muscles forward to open and stabilize the back of the throat. The device is also engineered to enable you to breathe through the mouth as well as move your jaw side to side to optimize comfort.
Dental Appliances do have their potential disadvantages. The most common problem is arthritis of the jaw joint or tempromandibular joint disease (TMJ). TMJ occurs because of the stress of the jaw joint from thrusting your jaw forward in an unnatural position. For some, the dental appliance may act as a retainer causing the teeth to shift over time. This complication can result in an over-bite or under-bite. Like any device such as CPAP machines, patients may have difficulty tolerating dental devices.