There is a lot of available information about sleep apnea appliances and the great things they can do. But there can be complications as well. In this report Dr. Roy V. Hakala with Minnesota Craniofacial Center in St. Paul, MN explains .
For starters, Dr. Hakala says, sleep apnea appliances have to be custom fit to patients. One-size-fits-all is not an option. It is important that the appliance has a good, tight fit and that it stays on the teeth all night long. No good will be done if the appliance lifts off when a patient swallows or rolls over in bed. It’s also important to understand that the appliance, even when it has been properly adjusted, was made to fit a patient’s teeth when the impression of the teeth was taken. This means that you must take your sleep appliance with you to every dental appointment. In case the dentist finds a small cavity and decides to fill it, the appliance will have to be checked to be sure it fits over the tooth with the new filling.
Another issue, probably a minor one, is that some people who get appliances tend to salivate a great deal for the first few nights before the body accepts that the appliance is not food. In that case, a person might develop a dry mouth and might need to take a sip of water during the night. For that reason, it’s helpful to for an appliance to have an open space in front so that the appliance does not have to be removed in order for a little water to be ingested.
A third issue has to do with the functioning of a sleep apnea appliance to hold the jaw forward overnight. Some people have a hard time getting the jaw to drop back into its normal position after they get up in the morning. Dr. Hakala says that, if a patient’s bite stays out of position for more than five or ten minutes in the morning, the patient should go back to see the dentist right away. The dentist can make a special kind of retainer for a patient to wear perhaps thirty minutes in the morning to help the bite go back to its normal position. It’s important that the dentist learn of any bite problems right away.
Dr. Roy V. Hakala graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in 1975 and has been working in the field of TMJ disorders and obstructive sleep apnea ever since. He established the Minnesota Craniofacial Center, P.C., specifically for the treatment of these disorders in 1994. Dr. Hakala is, among other things, a Diplomate of the American Board of Craniofacial Pain and a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He spoke with Sleep Better TV, providing online sleep breathing disorder video news content.