September 18

Sleep Appliances

Sleep Appliances

  • The purpose of this therapy is to influence the position of the lower jaw during sleep in order to improve airway flow, reduce snoring and/or oxygen deprivation or apnea.  Reduced airway flow can occur at several different levels of your airway at sleep.  Your medical evaluation has indicated that this is the best starting point for your care.
  • You are receiving a custom-fabricated plastic sleep appliance in order to position your jaw to improve airway flow. The predictability of this treatment varies considerably from person to person.  A sleep appliance has a high level of predictability for treating mild-to-moderate sleep apnea and/or snoring.  Hence, sometimes a sleep appliance is the only treatment required, but sometimes it is only the first step in order to improve your condition. The majority of other treatments are significantly more invasive such as having surgery performed or wearing a positive-pressure oxygen mask.  The sleep appliance is a simple and reversible starting point for your treatment.
  • The appliance is to be worn every night while sleeping. In the initial break-in period irritation of the gum tissues or pressure on your teeth may occasionally be encountered.  If this is minor, we will adjust it at your regular follow up appointment.  If it is significant and makes it difficult to wear the splint, you should call the office and we will see you sooner for this adjustment.  Occasionally soreness of the jaw joint is encountered after wearing this splint.  If it is minor, wearing the splint for a few nights will allow for adaptation of your jaws to the new appliance. If any major discomfort is encountered or new clicking in the jaw occurs, you should contact the office immediately for evaluation.  People, who have a tendency to be aggressive nighttime tooth grinders or bruxers, tend to sometimes have more difficulty in wearing a sleep appliance.
  • It is important that your teeth are as clean as possible at night before inserting the splint. Brush and floss your teeth in a normal manner prior to bedtime.  The splint will accumulate plaque just as your teeth do.  It needs to be cleaned daily.  Soaking in any of the conventional denture cleansers 20 minutes a day is recommended. If the splint is soaked longer than recommended, staining may occur between the laminated layers of plastic. Brushing the splint after removing from the solution is helpful to prevent any accumulation from occurring.
  • Your splint is custom processed to all of your existing teeth.  If you require any dental procedures on your teeth, it is important that your splint is adjusted to this new restoration. The majority of the time your regular dentist can perform this adjustment.  If they have any questions, feel free to have them contact us for further instructions. If they have any reservations about adjusting the splint to fit any new work, we would certainly be happy to make this adjustment for you. If any major dental work is performed, re-fabrication of the appliance may be required.

The photograph below demonstrates the action of a jaw advancement appliance, opening the patient’s airway:

The photo below demonstrates the exact appliance design that we use:


We're a 100% patient-centered dental practice serving central and western Montana. Our priorities are patient comfort, predictable outcomes, and longer-lasting results.


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If you are interested in enhancing your smile with overdentures, contact us today. We look forward to welcoming you into the Meng Dentistry family and helping you get the beautiful smile you deserve.