Types Of Oral Appliances
Looking for an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea? There are more than 80 options available on the market today, and Dr. Ivan F. Stein has intimate knowledge and experience with most of them. Most of them fall into two categories: mandibular-repositioning devices (MRDs) and tongue-retaining devices (TRDs). Both categories of sleep apnea oral appliances are designed to keep the airway clear during sleep, allowing for unobstructed breathing, but mandibular-repositioning devices are more commonly used. Crafted from acrylic, these appliances are worn in the mouth like an orthodontic retainer or a mouth guard.
Oral appliances are not available over the counter. They should be fitted by a dentist trained in sleep apnea therapy, dental occlusion and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. A custom-fitted appliance is sturdy, long lasting, comfortable and won’t cause jaw or bite-related complications.
Dr. Stein will help you select the device that is right for you. He will monitor the appliance therapy and adjust the appliance until snoring has been reduced or eliminated, and sleep apnea-related side effects (e.g., excessive daytime sleepiness) have resolved.
Mandibular-Repositioning Devices (MRD)
A mandibular-repositioning device, also known as a mandibular advancement splint, holds the lower jaw in a protruding position during sleep. This creates more space at the back of the throat so air can flow freely through.
The device looks like an athletic mouth guard. It is comprised of separate orthodontic retainer-like pieces for the top and bottom teeth. When in place, the device keeps the mouth semi-closed and the lower jaw slightly forward.
A few examples:
TAP Elite is composed of two custom-created pieces that fit over the top and bottom teeth and hook together, allowing the lower jaw to be gently pulled forward. This clears the airway to cut down on snoring and improve breathing.
HERBST is another appliance that repositions the mandible in a more protrusive position. It features two telescopic arms that attach the top and bottom pieces, allowing the user to open and close their mouth as well as move their jaw from side to side. Medicare covers the HERBST appliance.
The Oravan, developed by Dr. Stein, is a popular mandibular-repositioning device designed with patients’ comfort in mind; it is also one of the most effective devices on the market today. The Oravan features an open design with no coverage of the front teeth. Patients throughout the country have experienced great success with the device, and enjoy restful sleep without snoring or cessations in breath. The Oravan has given them more energy, eliminated snoring-related arguments with their spouse and improved their quality of life.
Other types of oral appliances that are available include the Somnodent, EMA, and Narval. Dr. Stein and his patients work together in selecting an appliance that will yield the best results.
Dr. Stein can help you determine whether the Oravan appliance is suitable for your needs. If so, he can fit you for your own custom-made appliance, and help you adjust to wearing it. Then, he will monitor you during periodic follow-up visits to ensure the Oravan is working without complications.
Tongue-Retaining Devices (TRD)
A tongue-retaining device, also called a tongue-stabilizing device, holds the tongue in a forward position. This is one of the most effective ways to keep the airway open during sleep. A tongue-retaining device prevents the tongue from collapsing into the airway and causing apnea episodes.
The device is a soft, plastic bulb. When you stick your tongue into it, the suction pulls your tongue forward so the end protrudes slightly past your lips. The device creates a seal around your lips, and you breathe through your nose. Tongue-retaining devices are a good option for individuals that do not have enough teeth to hold a mandibular-repositioning device.
Tongue-retaining devices come in different sizes, so you need to be fitted by a sleep dentist.
Learn More about the Oravan and Other Oral Appliances
To learn more about OravanOSA, and whether it is right for you and your needs, please contact New Jersey Sleep Apnea Solutions and schedule an informational consultation with Dr. Stein. Call (855) WHY-SNORE or (855) 949-7667 today to make an appointment.