713-565-7448

True Sleep Houston

Oral Appliance Therapy

The Least-Invasive Sleep Apnea Treatment.

Put simply, Sleep Apnea is when you stop breathing during your sleep. You can imagine the impact loss of air can have on your body. Sustained or repeated loss of air while you sleep, and therefore oxygen, wrecks complete havoc on your entire body. Additionally, not having restorative sleep while you sleep causes a whole host of problems for patients not treating their sleep apnea.

The most common way a patient’s airway is obstructed or blocked is the relaxation of oropharyngeal muscles and soft tissues in the mouth and back of the throat. The jaw falls backwards and can allow collapse of this tissue and the tongue can also participate in the obstruction.

An oral appliance is used to hold the lower jaw forward and therefore keep the tissues taught, keep the tongue from falling backwards and allowing your airway to stay open so that you can breathe while you sleep.

Couple sleeping in bed

What is Oral Device Therapy?

Sleep Apnea Breathing IllustrationTreatment for Sleep Apnea can be rendered through a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine, an Oral Appliance, and/or surgical interventions in severe anatomical deviations. CPAP machines are worn by the patient every night. CPAPs utilize a machine requiring power that connects to a hose and a facemask with nasal attachments. The patient sleeps with this mask connected to the hose and machine while the machine forces constant air into the patient’s airway- allowing the obstruction or blockage to be overcome. This allows the patient to breathe.

As you can imagine, CPAPs are very cumbersome to a patient’s sleep, comfort and everyday life. Not only does a patient using a CPAP now require a power outlet for their machine (goodbye to your camping days), it requires the use of distilled water and daily, weekly, monthly cleaning protocols. Although these attributes of CPAPs are very burdensome to the patient, typically a patient can not tolerate a CPAP because of its lack of comfortability. The constant air flow, constant adjustments throughout the night and irritation of the nose and face. Sore spots from the masks and straps. Feeling claustrophobic and “tied down to a bed” because of the tubing and attachments. Noisy, bulky machines can also get in the way of bed partner sleep. It is not surprising then that 1 out of every 2 patients who are prescribed a CPAP stop using it within the first year.

That means that all of these patients are suffering from untreated sleep apnea.

Oral appliances offer a solution to these patients and most people who suffer from Sleep Apnea. A patient can sleep comfortably easily with an oral appliance that is discreet and effective. They look and feel like a sleek oral retainer or bleaching trays and allow the patient to close their lips while they sleep. A patient can drink with one in. They can easily be removed for using the restroom in the middle of the night. They are compact and effortlessly portable. Quick to clean and never noisy. Never require distilled water or power.
This is why 88% of patients who use an Oral Appliance are compliant in using it to treat their sleep apnea.

There are many reasons why a patient can develop Sleep Apnea. Sometimes there are structural deviations in the airway of the patient, therefore blocking a clear path for air.

Oral Appliances are custom fabricated for each individual patient. There are many types of FDA-approved Oral Appliances that medical insurance will cover. True Sleep offers a variety of oral appliances and only selects the appropriate device after a complete assessment of the patient and their individual needs.

MORE ABOUT ORAL APPLIANCES AND QUESTIONS WE FREQUENTLY GET FROM PATIENTS:

Any type of oral device we use has a process that allows us to advance the patient’s lower jaw forward slowly. This process is called the titration process. Dr. Morris starts all of her patients in a neutral, comfortable position and advances patients very slowly over a few months, sometimes even just 1/10th of a millimeter. This process is a delicate one in which Dr. Morris and the patient work together to find the position that is comfortable for the patient and allows us to maximize the patient’s individual treatment in opening their airway. Once a final position is found, the patient is tested for efficacy to be sure the Sleep Apnea has resolved while wearing the oral device.