Oral Appliance Therapy

Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine

Dental Sleep Medicine Specialists located in Wexford, PA, McMurray, PA, Latrobe, PA & Monroeville, PA

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can rob you of the rest you need. Oral appliance therapy offers a solution, and is an area of expertise for the team at Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine, serving the communities of Wexford, Monroeville, McMurray, and Latrobe, Pennsylvania. If you or a loved one is searching for relief from the symptoms of sleep apnea, call the office today to book an appointment. Online scheduling is also available and takes just moments to complete.

Oral Appliance Therapy Q & A

What is an oral appliance?

An oral appliance is a device that works in your mouth during sleep. It looks a lot like an orthodontic retainer or a sports mouth guard, although the technology behind oral appliances is more advanced. 

Oral appliances are available from many dental offices, but most prefer to select one type of oral appliance and offer it to all patients. The team at Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine recognizes that not everyone has the same set of needs (or the same anatomy) and that offering a range of options is a better way to help you find the right fit for your needs. 

Most oral appliances fall into one of two categories: mandibular repositioning devices or tongue retaining devices. A tongue retaining device works by engaging the tongue and moving it to a more forward position in your mouth during sleep. Mandibular repositioning devices change the position of your jaw during sleep, which helps open your airway. 

What conditions can oral appliances treat?

Oral appliance therapy is an excellent treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, as well as snoring and TMJ (jaw joint disorders). 

Obstructive sleep apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in your throat relax to the point they block your airway. Normal breathing is interrupted, sometimes hundreds of times each night, and your body doesn’t get the rest needed to thrive. This often leads to serious medical problems as well.

Snoring

Loud snoring can get in the way of a good night’s sleep, both for you and for those who sleep nearby. Oral appliances can help by changing the way air enters and exits your throat, which can reduce or eliminate the snoring noise.  

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)

Certain oral appliances are a great treatment for temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ. This medical condition occurs when the joint that attaches your lower jaw to your skull experiences traumatic or repetitive injury or when disease alters the components of the joint. A specially designed oral appliance helps relax the muscles in your face while you sleep and prevents teeth clenching or grinding.    

It’s important to understand that finding the right oral appliance for you is only the first step. You must also incorporate using your oral appliance into your bedtime routine to reap the benefits of this form of therapy. 

What does it feel like to use an oral appliance?

Using any type of oral appliance while you sleep requires a period of adjustment. That said, the materials used to craft high-quality, custom-fitted oral appliances have never been better. These devices are made of materials that do not generally cause friction or abrasions to your cheek, gums, or other soft tissues. 

During your consultation, your practitioner works with you to determine what type of oral appliance is right for you. They fit your device to the exact specifications of your mouth, and you receive detailed instructions on when and how to wear your oral appliance and how to care for it so you can reap the benefits of oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, snoring, or TMJ, for many years. 

When you’re ready to learn more, schedule an appointment online or by phone. Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, and the front desk staff can answer questions regarding coverage.