More than 18 million American adults suffer from sleep apnea and are faced with all of the challenges that come with it — sleepless nights, fatigue, irritability, depression, and more.
After being diagnosed, patients are typically prescribed a loud, awkward CPAP machine. Though it’s often an effective form of treatment, dentists like Dr. Roman Shlafer understand that CPAP isn’t for everyone.
Fortunately, the field of dentistry never ceases to evolve, providing patients with minimally invasive alternatives to CPAP. Discover six different oral appliances that can be used to treat both snoring and sleep apnea.
1. TAP 3
Similar to a mouthguard, the TAP 3 is a two-piece appliance that fits over the upper and lower teeth. It stabilizes and positions the jaw forward to prevent the tongue and tissue in the throat from collapsing into the airway.
TAP is custom-made to fit comfortably in your mouth and it’s easy to adjust the degree to which the lower jaw is held forward. It gives you the freedom of lateral movement, has interchangeable hooks, and provides more room for your tongue.
Best of all, TAP delivers superior results — more than 95% of patients have experienced an improvement in breathing and a significant reduction in snoring.
ApneaRx is an appliance made of soft thermoplastic and hard acrylic that can be formed to fit your teeth using the “boil and bite” method. In less than 10 minutes, you’ll have a custom mold designed to improve breathing and reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
This appliance works by mandibular repositioning, or gently holding the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open while you’re sleeping. ApneaRx allows patients to adjust the advancement of the jaw in one mm increments for maximum comfort.
3. OASYS Hinge Appliance
Unlike a lot of other oral devices, the OASYS Hinge Appliance is a Medicare-approved appliance offered to patients receiving Medicare benefits. Not only is it used to treat sleep apnea, but it can also be effective in treating bruxism.
OASYS is inserted as a single unit that holds the jaw forward using stainless steel hinges, wires, and clasps. It’s micro-adjustable between 0.25 mm increments and doesn’t come apart with full extension.
4. Silent Nite
With more than 400,000 appliances delivered, Silent Nite has proven to effectively prevent the effects of snoring and sleep apnea. It’s thin, flexible, and comfortable thanks to the increased freedom of movement it provides.
The SilentNite appliance works by positioning the lower jaw forward using Slide-Link connectors attached to upper and lower splints. These splints are custom-made with a soft, comfortable inner layer and a hard, durable outer layer.
5. Herbst Appliance
Herbst Appliance was first introduced back in the early 1900s and later gained popularity in the 1980s after Hans Pancherz made improvements on the device. Through time and innovation, Herbst has been modified to meet the standards of modern dentistry.
This appliance is rather inflexible, as it’s cemented to the permanent first molars for at least 12 months. The Herbst Appliance functions like an artificial joint and works by repositioning and holding the mandible in a more protrusive position. It’s designed to treat sleep apnea, snoring, and bruxism.
If you’re seeking a more flexible solution for snoring, dentists like Dr. Richard Robinette offer comfortable treatments that help you sleep soundly without interruptions.
Made with clinically unbreakable acrylic, ClearDream uses “fins” on the lower arch to advance the mandible. This oral appliance is recommended for the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring.
ClearDream keeps the airway open with titratable posterior hardware in the upper arch which determines the adjustment of the lower jaw. It’s designed to provide comfort, better airflow, and additional tongue space.
Getting the Care You Need to Protect Your Health
If you suffer from sleep apnea, seeking treatment is important for preventing serious health complications down the line. Dentists like Dr. Karen E. Guinn encourage patients to undergo a sleep test to help determine the best treatment option for you.
With advancements in dentistry, patients no longer have to lose out on a comfortable night’s rest. Oral appliances are small, quiet, and easy to use. Best of all, they’re custom-made and designed just for you.