Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Oral Appliances and Their Side Effects

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Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is becoming a well-known treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). An increasing number of dentists are providing OAT at their practices. And more research is being done on the side effects of oral appliances (OAs).

OAT has been shown to have positive and negative side effects. Negative effects are often minor and can be prevented with adjustments to the appliance.

A recent study in the journal Sleep and Breathing found that long-term use of OAs does not hurt the jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

The study measured TMJ dysfunction approximately three years after patients began OAT. Researchers found that jaw problems, decreased significantly throughout the treatment.

A similar 2005 study found that after five years, people who used an OA to control their apnea experienced fewer side effects, such as morning headaches and jaw discomfort, than non-users.

Wearing an OA can have some negative side effects. These effects include:

· jj Jaw, tooth, gum, tongue, or facial pain
· jj Dry mouth
· jj Salvation
· jj Gagging
· jj Changes in the biting surface of the teeth

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends the use of OAs for mild to moderate apnea patients if they prefer the appliance to CPAP, cannot tolerate CPAP, or cannot use positional therapy or weight loss to control their apnea. OAs are also recommended for severe patients if they are unable to tolerate CPAP.

OSA occurs when the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat collapse, blocking the airway. People with OSA can stop breathing for 10 to 30 seconds, sometimes for one minute or longer. This pause in breathing can happen hundreds of times a night.

OAT involves the fitting and adjustment of OAs, which look like mouth guards and are worn at night. These devices reposition the lower jaw and tongue forward to keep an open airway.

There are two main types of OAs. Every oral appliance is different. Speak with your dentist to determine which device will work best for you.

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The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.