Over time, Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) may result in minor changes to a person’s bite, but it rarely leads to complications such as TMJ. In fact, OAT may relieve TMJ conditions by eliminating one of the causes of the problem: the lack of an open airway.Some users may experience a little muscle soreness when they first start using an oral appliance, but this typically disappears within the first few weeks. Minor bite change, jaw movement, and excessive mouth dryness or salivation may also occur in the first few weeks, but the vast majority of patients report easily adapting to wearing their appliance. Long-term compliance rates for OAT is quite favorable.
Some oral appliances are worn only when you sleep. Others are worn more often. It depends on your goals for oral appliance therapy, your form of sleep apnea and how much improvement you want to create in the shape of your airway.
Oral appliances are made of a hypoallergenic thermoplastic. They also may have metal parts, which are located inside the plastic so they remain comfortable. Oral appliances are durable, but eventually wear down and must be repaired or replaced every four to eight years. They may also require minor adjustments due to wear-and-tear or therapeutic requirements, which is typically addressed during periodic check-up visits. It may be possible to incorporate your sleep apnea visits into your normal dental hygiene program. Patients who grind or clench their teeth may have to repair their appliance more often, or replace it sooner.
To get your own oral appliance therapy started, contact today and start getting a good night’s sleep!