Sleep Apnea Appliances
Sleep apnea can be a fatal disorder affecting one out of ten Americans men who are above 40, and 6% of American women of similar age. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing completely while sleeping, sometimes hundreds of times in one night. This is because the airway gets blocked, resulting in significant reduction of the flow of air to the lungs.
Some dental appliances can be useful in alleviating this condition. What most devices aim to do is to separate the jaws and push them forward a little. This small change in position increases the flow of oxygen by opening up the airway. Sufferers who wear these devices have reported that they stop snoring loudly, are more relaxed in the daytime, and sleep more comfortably.
These devices work best patients who are no overweight. They are a great alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
There two categories of sleep apnea devices: adjustable and fixed. Here short descriptions of some common sleep apnea dental devices.
TAP® 3 (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)
This happens to be the smallest and most comfortable member of the TAP family. It is a custom-made device that can fit over the teeth just like a sports mouthguard. The TAP® 3 pushes the jaw slightly forward so that soft tissues and the tongue are not obstructing the airway. The lower jaw positioned can be altered and adjusted to achieve the desired level of comfort. The TAP® 3 device is capable of accommodating the three major types of malocclusion, and the lips can close completely.
This device repositions the mandible (jawbone) and moves the base of the tongue towards the front of the mouth. This little shift strengthens the upper airway and opens the oropharynx. There is a projection of an extension of the upper shield toward the nose, giving rise to less resistance to normal airflow and a bigger nasal opening. This adjustable device is extremely patient-friendly and comfortable to wear.
The KlearwayTM Appliance is mainly used in the elimination of snoring and alleviation of obstructive sleep disorder. The dentist or patient is able to project the teeth forward, increasing it by .25mm each time. This allows the patient to sleep with much comfort. The appliance is made from VariflexTM heat softening acrylic, making it easier to insert. The appliance is made pliable by running warm water over it, but the acrylic hardens again once placed in the desired position.
Herbst Telescopic Appliance
This appliance is usually held in the mouth by friction and clasps grips. It is produced from acrylic and has adjustable metal wiring. The main advantage of this device is that the wearer will be able to move laterally and vertically and not dislodge the appliance. The Herbst appliance is often used in treating moderate sleep apnea cases, and can effectively get rid of loud snoring.
For questions or inquiries about sleep apnea appliances, please consult your dentist.