Oral Appliances


s-smile2.jpgOral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and snoring. These small plastic appliances are quite similar to retainers and mouth guards. They prevent the soft tissues of the throat and tongue from blocking the airway during sleep. There are currently 70 different types of oral appliances available.

Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other methods of treatment, including the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device, minimal and complex surgery options or lifestyle changes, such as weight loss and exercise. The CPAP machine is the most common treatment. It delivers air pressure through a nasal mask to keep the airway passages open during sleep.

Oral appliance therapy is an ideal treatment if you:

  • Are experiencing primary snoring or mild OSA and your symptoms do not improve as a result of weight loss or a change in sleeping position.
  • Have been diagnosed with moderate to severe OSA and cannot tolerate or refuse to use the CPAP device.
  • Do not want to undergo surgical treatment for OSA such as a tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

Types of Oral Appliances

Virtually all oral appliances are classified into two categories:

  • Tongue Retaining Appliances – These appliances keep the tongue in a forward position to prevent it from obstructing the airway during sleep.
  • Mandibular Repositioning Appliances – These appliances are designed to reposition and keep the lower jaw in a protruded position during sleep. This action pulls the tongue forward and keeps the lower jaw and surrounding structures in a stable position.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy has many advantages:

  • The appliances are easy to wear and comfortable. It typically only takes a couple of weeks to get used to wearing them.
  • The appliances are small and can easily be carried when traveling.
  • Treatment is non-invasive and reversible.

Following a consultation, Dr. Kawakami can decide which oral appliance is best for you. On-going care is essential. This allows Dr. Kawakami to assess your treatment progress as well as the effectiveness, fit and comfort of your oral appliance.