Oral Appliances From a Dentist to Treat Sleep Apnea, with Dr. Larry Pribyl, Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, Independence, Missouri
Oral appliances are designed to move your lower jaw, or mandible, and tongue forward. The tongue is a major driver when it comes to sleep apnic events or snoring, says Dr. Larry Pribyl, dentist with the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Independence, Missouri. The tongue falls back into the airway and compresses the tissues and cuts off the airway.
Over the counter oral appliances are one size fits all and a lot of them are to be boiled to fit into the mouth and puts the jaw into a position you select. They don't have a long life expectancy, Dr. Pribyl notes.
Custom-made oral appliances are made off of an impression made in a dental office, with material used that will last a longer time. It fits the teeth tightly and also holds your jaw to a more fixed position and predictable posture so that you can better manage your apnea. Plus, Dr. Pribyl adds, it's monitored by a dentist.
There are over 100 FDA-approved oral appliances to treat sleep apnea and many more just for snoring, says Dr. Pribyl. He says it's the dentist's responsibility to determine which one is the best for each patient. Dr. Pribyl's office has an in-house laboratory that can make oral appliances within a couple of days. Other labs he uses can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to make an oral appliance.
Dr. Larry Pribyl is a leading sleep expert with Sleep Better TV, providing online, on-demand, sleep breathing disorder videos, and is a dentist in Independence, Missouri with the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea.