Sleep apnea is a condition in which the airway is obstructed for short periods of time during sleep. Symptoms may include snoring, gasping, or extreme daytime tiredness.
Diagnosis of sleep apnea is confirmed with a sleep study in a special laboratory during an overnight stay. Depending upon the severity of the apnea, a dental appliance may be sufficient to treat the cause and improve the patient’s sleep.
The appliance is made from a mold of the patient’s teeth. It is similar to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer, but the purpose is different. The oral appliance is designed to keep the tongue, soft palate, and uvula from obstructing the airway.
There are two types of sleep apnea oral appliances. The first is a tongue retaining appliance. These hold the tongue via suction to keep it from falling back in the jaw and obstructing the airway during sleep. The second is a mandibular repositioning device which repositions the jaw and prevents the tongue, uvula, and soft palate from creating an obstruction.
Dr. Rauchwerger can help you decide which appliance is best for you.