| What is
an oral appliance?
An oral appliance is a small device,
similar to an orthodontic retainer or an athletic mouthguard.
It is worn in the mouth during sleep to prevent the soft throat
tissues from collapsing and obstructing the airway. Some appliances
hold the lower jaw forward during sleep while others have
direct effect on tongue position.
Oral appliances relieve OSA and snoring by realigning the
jaw and/or tongue in relation to the head. Although oral appliances
do not work on everybody, a well-made, well-fitted appliance
may reduce or eliminate snoring, and may significantly relieve
symptoms of OSA.
Since the 1800’s, over 50 different oral appliances
have been invented that have been used with varying degrees
of effectiveness to treat snoring and Sleep Apnea. Appliances
fall into two main categories; those which hold the tongue
forward and those which reposition the lower jaw (and the
attached tongue) forward during sleep. Sleep aids can be bought
off the shelf at Pharmacies, such as Snoreban and Breathe
Right strips, and others that are usually most effective are
made by dentists and/or orthodontists. Some appliances are
what are referred to as "boil and bite" appliances
that are softened by placing in boiling water for a length
of time, and then placed in the mouth and bitten into, and
others like the KlearwayTM appliance are custom fit adjustable
mandibular repositioning appliances that hold the lower jaw
forward during sleep. There have been several research studies
completed that have compared the effectiveness of various
appliances and it has been shown that the adjustable appliances
that reposition the lower jaw forward during sleep are more
effective than non adjustable appliances.
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