Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical disorder that affects around 10% of American men over the age of 40, and 6% of American women of the same age. Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed, causing a serious reduction of airflow to the lungs.
There are a number of dental devices that can be used to alleviate this condition. The goal of most of these devices is to separate the jaws and push them forward slightly. This slight repositioning opens up the airway, and allows oxygen to flow freely again. Wearers of sleep apnea dental devices report that they stop loud snoring, feel more rested in the daytime, and are much more comfortable going to sleep. Sleep apnea appliances work best on patients who are not significantly overweight. They offer a viable alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).
Sleep apnea appliances fall into two categories: fixed and adjustable. Here are brief descriptions of some commonly used sleep apnea dental appliances:
TAP® 3 (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)
The TAP® 3 is the smallest, most comfortable member of the TAP family. It is a two-part custom-created sleep apnea appliance that fits over the teeth in much the same way as a sports mouthguard. The TAP® 3 projects the jaw forward to prevent the tongue and soft tissues from impeding the airway. The lower jaw positioner is adjustable, which means that it can be altered to suit the comfort level of the wearer. The TAP® 3 appliance can accommodate the three main types of malocclusion, and allows the lips to fully close.
What is SomnoDent?
SomnoDent is an Oral Sleep Apnea Appliance consisting of two dental plates, which look similar to a sports mouth guard. SomnoDent is custom made to fit your mouth and should be worn at night whilst you are sleeping.
How does SomnoDent work?
Using a titration key, the SomnoDent can be gradually adjusted to bring your lower jaw forward, opening up your airway. Treatment is painless and non invasive. SomnoDent therapy is reversible and can be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
Is SomnoDent comfortable?
The SomnoDent allows you to open and close your mouth, which means you can talk or drink with the appliance in position. Because SomnoDent is custom made to fit your mouth, you will find the appliance to be surprisingly comfortable and discreet. You will find that you're used to wearing the device after about a week.
Is SomnoDent the right treatment for me?
If you suffer from mild to moderate OSA the SomnoDent should benefit you. If your OSA is classed as severe and you can not tolerate other recommended treatments, then speak to your Sleep Physician or a SomnoMed dentist about trying the SomnoDent.