Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

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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 info@watkindental.com.