How do dental appliances treat sleep apnea?

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Numerous appliances are available to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Research has shown that many dental appliances are quite effective and can now be considered as an alternative to other treatments. Dental appliances offer several advantages over other treatments. They’re inexpensive compared with other treatments, they’re non-invasive and non-surgical, they’re easy to fabricate, and they’re custom fitted to your mouth making them comfortable.

Dental appliances work by stabilizing the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and hyoid bone into a position to help create a more open airway. The appliance also gives the tongue muscles muscle tone. This increased muscle tone makes the tongue less likely to relax and cover the airway during sleep.

There are many variants of dental appliances that are effective. The Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP)appliance, invented by Dr. Keith Thornton, is one of the best designed and is the best researched of them all and therefore our choice for treating snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Jeff Rouse was personally trained by Dr. Thornton with this treatment method.

The TAP is small plastic device similar to a retainer that’s custom molded from a cast of your teeth. By adjusting the appliance to reposition the jaw, soft throat tissue is prevented from obstructing the airway, thus eliminating snoring and improving breathing. It provides the sleeper with restful uninterrupted sleep, and probably even more important in some cases, allows a bed partner to get a restful night’s sleep as well.

The TAP is custom designed to provide the patient with a comfortable fit. Patients simply have an impression of their teeth made and return in a few weeks to try on their TAP device and take it home. With proper use, the TAP may eliminate snoring and improve nighttime breathing resulting in a great night’s sleep and the start of a healthier lifestyle.

The TAP device may not reduce all sleep apnea symptoms. It may be used in conjunction with a CPAP at a greatly reduced air flow.

If you would like more information about how we can treat OSA, please call us today at 210-828-3334 or email us.

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