Oral Appliance Therapy for Airway Management
If you snore frequently, have mild to moderate OSA or are CPAP intolerant, your sleep physician may prescribe oral appliance therapy and refer you to Dr. Tull for evaluation for a removable mouth appliance to aid with sleep breathing.
An oral sleep appliance resembles a dental mouthguard, it is worn over the upper and lower teeth and connected by a pair of hinges or interchangeable tension straps to allow for adjustments. The oral sleep appliance is made of durable resin or acrylic materials that make it easy to keep clean.
Dr. Tull designs the oral sleep appliance to fit your teeth, and he or medical sleep professionals will adjust or ‘titrate’ the appliance to shift the lower jaw in a position to keep the airway open. If the tongue is falling backward and causing airway blockage during sleep, Dr. Tull can design an appliance that will help stabilize the tongue and palatal tissue to prevent this from happening.
Your physician and Dr. Tull will recommend periodic sleep study testing (either at a sleep facility or using a portable home testing device) to measure the effectiveness of your appliance. Dr. Tull will also see you for follow-up care to make sure you are comfortable wearing the appliance and will make adjustments based on the sleep physician's findings.
Your Consultation for Oral Appliance Therapy
We want you to feel completely comfortable in our care beginning with your very first phone call to our practice. When you schedule your consultation appointment for oral appliance therapy, we will talk with you about your physician's findings and go over what to expect.
After you arrive, we will greet you like an old friend and seat you comfortably in our exam room. Dr. Tull and our clinical assistant will meet with you to learn more about you and your health, and go over the process of oral appliance therapy. A few basic steps include:
- Dr. Tull will examine your teeth, jaw joints and oral soft tissues and review necessary x-rays to assess your dental health. This will also provide him with information needed to design your oral sleep appliance.
- We will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth to send to our dental laboratory with instructions to fabricate your custom sleep appliance.
- In 2-3 weeks, you will return to our office to receive your oral sleep appliance. Dr. Tull will adjust the settings to meet the sleep specialist's specifications.
- You will be asked to wear your oral sleep appliance every night while you sleep. Being consistent is very important to help you gain the most benefit from your oral appliance therapy.
- Dr. Tull or your physician will recommend additional sleep studies or home sleep tests and follow up visits based on your diagnosis and progress.
The goal of oral appliance therapy for treatment of sleep breathing disorders is to maintain an open airway and prevent airway blockage to support proper breathing during sleep.