Oral appliances are worn in the mouth to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). These devices are similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. Oral Appliance Therapy involves the selection, design, fitting and use of a custom designed oral appliance that is worn during sleep. This appliance then attempts to maintain an opened, unobstructed airway in the throat. There are many different oral appliances available. Approximately 40 appliances have been approved through the FDA for treatment of snoring and/or sleep apnea. Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other means of treating OSA. These means include general health, weight management, or surgery.
Oral appliances work in several ways:
Dentists have been using Oral Appliance Therapy for over 25 years. Original Oral Appliance Therapy procedures however, lacked scientific experiments to document their efficiency. In February 2006, after numerous level one and level 2 clinical studies, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommended Oral Appliance Therapy to be one of the first line treatments for mild and moderate sleep apnea and has a program to certify which oral appliances have proven to be effective. Dentists can choose from over seventy available appliances. Dr. Smith recommends the EMA® appliance.
The EMA® Appliance provides incremental mandibular advancement by a screw device that is easily manipulated by the patient to maximize the dilation of the airway. The appliance is retained to the teeth by a moldable material that can provide a perfect fit. It further provides for the inexpensive replacement should changes to the teeth or fillings be made. The EMA® Appliance has been well studied and has been shown to be effective in snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS), mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea. In some cases, severe sleep apnea has been effectively managed with the EMA® appliance.