Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea


Sleep apnea patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be treated, based on extent and severity with either:

  1. Surgical Therapy - UPPP or ULAP
  2. Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine
  3. Oral Dental Appliance

Generally, mild and moderate sleep apnea patients are successfully treated with dental appliances. There are some cases where patients are not able to tolerate the CPAP system - wearing the face mask with the attached air compressor. These patients are excellent candidates for the dental appliance therapy, a non-invasive approach. These appliances are worn at night to treat the OSA.

Since 1987 all medical devices, including oral appliances for the treatment of snoring or OSA are required to have the FDA clearance. There are various types of appliances:

  • Silent night
  • Modified Herbst
  • Klearway Appliance
  • Silencer appliance

These are basically different designs in accomplishing the 2-piece appliance to advance the lower jaw forward, thereby advancing the tongue forward and allowing the opening of the posterior airway. The patient is able to have jaw movements left and right during sleep. The side benefit is that these appliances reduce the snoring effect as well. Once the appliance has been fitted, it is advisable for the patient to a have another polysomnogram to confirm the effect of reducing the sleep apnea has been corrected.

The best treatment for you is one that you will wear all night and every night

Our office primarily fits the custom made "TAP" (Thornton Adjustable Positioner) appliance that can be adjusted easily while in the mouth. This feature allows the patient to control their treatment. Most patients experience relief within the first 24-48 hours. It usually takes about a week to get used to the appliance.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances, like the TAP as a first line of treatment for mild or moderate sleep apnea, and in cases of severe sleep apnea when the CPAP has not worked. For more information please call Watkin Dental Associates at 978-345-6919 to schedule a consultation or email us at


Periodontal (gum) diseases, including gingivitis and periodontitis, are serious infections that, left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. The word periodontal literally means “around the tooth.” Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone supporting the teeth. Periodontal disease can affect one tooth or many teeth. It begins when the bacteria in plaque (the sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth) causes the gums to become inflamed.


Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease. It causes the gums to become red, swollen, and bleed easily. There is usually little or no discomfort at this stage. Gingivitis is often caused by inadequate oral hygiene. Gingivitis is reversible with professional treatment and good oral home care.


Untreated gingivitis can advance to periodontitis. With time, plaque can spread and grow below the gum line. Toxins produced by the bacteria in plaque irritate the gums. The toxins stimulate a chronic inflammatory response in which the body in essence turns on itself, and the tissues and bone that support the teeth are broken down and destroyed. Gums separate from the teeth, forming pockets (spaces between the teeth and gums) that become infected. As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Often, this destructive process has very mild symptoms. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

Periodontal disease is often silent, meaning symptoms may not appear until an advanced stage of the disease. However, warning signs of periodontal disease include the following:

  • Red, swollen or tender gums or other pain in your mouth
  • Bleeding while brushing, flossing, or eating hard food
  • Gums that are receding or pulling away from the teeth, causing the teeth to look longer than before
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus between your gums and teeth
  • Sores in your mouth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

The American Academy of Periodontology’s risk assessment test will help you see if you are at risk for having or developing periodontal (gum) disease. Millions of people don’t know they have this serious infection that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. Please contact Watkin Dental Associates in Fitchburg, MA at 978-345-6919