Sleep apnea dentistry is a form of conventional dentistry that takes a special interest in treating patients with sleep apnea and other respiratory problems such as snoring. There are different types of sleep apnea, but obstructive sleep apnea is by far the most common. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by a partial or total collapse of the upper airway, which may result in loud snoring or periods where breathing stops. This can cause the person to awaken hundreds of times during the night for brief periods, which makes them very tired during the day.
Sleep apnea dentists, like Dr. Farahi are not just concerned with the physical health of the teeth, gums, and supporting bones that provide structure to our jaws, but they also take into account how these structures are intimately linked with the rest of the body. As a result, they are able to provide effective treatments for OSA using oral appliance therapy.
Oral appliance therapy works by repositioning the jaw to prevent the airway from collapsing. This helps to reduce OSA symptoms such as snoring and airway obstruction. There are many different varieties of mandibular repositioning appliances and a different appliance may be recommended for different situations. These varieties can be divided into two main categories:
Mandibular Advancement Devices
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) are custom-fabricated out of acrylic or nylon materials to fit over the upper and lower teeth. They hold the jaw in a slightly forward position to maintain an open airway and proper breathing while sleeping. Some variations may have an adjustment mechanism to allow gradual jaw advancement.
Tongue Retaining Devices
Tongue retaining devices (TAD) are custom-fabricated out of a soft, pliable material. They have a small compartment that uses suction to gently hold the tongue forward and prevent it from falling backwards into the airway. This device is commonly used for patients who wear dentures or those who cannot wear a mandibular advancement device.
The introduction of a sleep apnea dentistry practice has been a game changer for those who struggle with this condition. From MADs to TADs, the variety of devices available is extensive and each patient will have different needs that can be met by Dr. Farahi. If you or someone in your life struggles with snoring, fatigue, gasping at night time as well as other symptoms we recommend contacting our sleep apnea dentist, Dr. Farahi at SmileMcLean Dentistry today. We’re here to help improve quality of life through oral appliance therapy and give you all the information about how it works!