In the last couple of blogs we found that Intra oral appliances, whether for snoring or mild sleep apnea, are meant to keep the airway open during sleep. They act by preventing the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues to the back of the throat.
Oral appliances can also be used alone or in combination with other treatments I.e. weight management or CPAP (forced oxygen) machines.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of the mandibular advancing device that we discussed in the previous blog.
The Advantages of Oral Appliances:
1. Very quick and easy to adapt to: Usually just a couple of weeks and accepted quite well by patients.
2. Easy to fabricate: The procedure is not difficult for the patient. It is non-invasive and non-surgical…just a couple of impressions and a bite registration.
The appliance is comfortable and easy to wear.
3. Not expensive as compared to a CPAP machine.
4. Small, so easy to travel with.
The Disadvantages of Oral Appliances (Note: These are actually minor and temporary)
1. Can lead to an increase in salivation or the reverse…a dry mouth.
2. Discomfort of the teeth from the appliance.
3. Irritated gum tissues from mouth breathing.
4. The patient’s ‘bite’ may be affected and they may also experience temporary disharmonies of the Temporomandibular Joint (see Anatomy of the Temporomandibular Joint, posted on October 15, 2011.)
Please note: numbers one to four above (under disadvantages) normally go away after the patient has worn the appliance…they are usually short lived.
In the next blog, we’ll look at a few more important facts about oral appliances…until then.
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton’s Gentle Dentist