How a dental oral appliance helps with sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is one severe medication condition that many people are suffering today. This health condition can stop an individual from breathing for a couple of seconds while sleeping. This does not only happen once; it happens at different intervals all through their sleep.

This condition causes blockage in the passages, which restricts airflow temporarily. When this happens, the brain does not get the right amount of oxygen it ought to get, which can be detrimental. The implications of this condition are both mental and physiological. It also has some notable unwanted side effects.

Fortunately, dental oral devices therapy is one of the effective solutions to this problem. There are many options for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) therapy from which to choose. However, one of the most effective over the years is oral appliances. In addition to being highly successful, they are very easy to use. Dental devices are effective at treating mild to moderate sleep apnea as well as severe sleep apnea.

Oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea

Dentists created oral devices for sleep apnea patients to wear inside the oral cavity when sleeping. The major function of these devices is to keep the air passages open and prevent them from collapsing, ensuring the patient breathes easily and freely. There are different types of appliances for treating both snoring and sleep apnea.

The devices also function in different ways. They will either function as tongue-retaining appliances or move the lower jaw forward. You can consult a sleep specialist to know the best and most effective treatment option for you. Here are three common types of oral devices for treating sleep apnea.

The advantage of visiting our Bellevue office is that we will make custom oral appliances well suited for you. These custom-made sleep apnea appliances will significantly reduce your symptoms by helping you sleep better at night. Your breathing won’t have to constantly stop and start throughout the night because the device prevents your airway from collapsing.

1. Tongue-Retaining Devices for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

A tong-retaining device is a special oral device designed to help people with this medical condition. The device looks like a pacifier, but there is a hole in the center that the tongue sits in. In the dentistry world, this device is also called an oral splint. What this device does is hold the tongue forward to prevent the blockage of the upper airway.

People suffering from sleep apnea wear it all through the night to keep the tongue forward while they sleep. One of the major causes of this health issue is snoring. These appliances help to reduce the chances of snoring significantly, as they position the mouth in a certain way, allowing for adequate airflow to the back of the throat.

2. Boil and bite device

A boil and bite device is a one-size-fits-all solution for patients suffering from sleep apnea, and you can purchase it over the counter. To use this dental device, you have to put it into hot water to be soft and then bite into it. The patient has to bite into it until it fits.

A boil and bite device is a cheap alternative to a custom-made oral device, and they are also less effective. Because of their less effectiveness, many dentists will not advise you to use them. In some cases, they might even make the condition worse. However, they are designed for those who cannot afford the aforementioned options.

If you have this medical condition, you will greatly benefit from using a custom-made oral appliance, especially if you like sleeping on your stomach or back or grind your teeth while sleeping. With a custom appliance, you will enjoy smooth and sound sleep at night. The device will reduce the intensity and rate of snoring while enhancing your sleep quality.

It would also help to reduce the number of breathing interruptions that take place while sleeping. The compliance rate of dental appliances is much higher than that of CPAP machines, which is why many dentists recommend them.

3. Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)

Mandibular advancement device (MAD) is another common oral appliance therapy approach used to treat sleep apnea. This device closely resembles a mouthguard or nightguard. Mandibular advancement devices have little metal pieces at both ends, and they are placed right over the top and bottom dental arches. The metal pieces make it easy for the lower jaw to move forward when the patient is sleeping.

There are also custom-made MADs with more control, and they offer more advancement of the jaw. Hinges hold the lower and upper parts of the MAD. This device does a great job of allowing for adequate airflow when sleeping. Mandibular advancement devices are more frequently recommended than tongue retaining devices.

Points to consider

Oral appliances are very easy to use. To see any real change, you need to get a custom-made oral appliance from us. You can start now to take steps that will guarantee an improvement in your condition. Contact us at 425-998-8109 to schedule an appointment in our Bellevue office. We are happy to discuss oral appliance therapy with you and help you get started as soon as you are ready.

At Bellevue Azalea dentistry, we know exactly what you need to see an improvement in your sleep apnea symptoms.  Dr. Uparika Sharma is a trusted dentist who has helped patients with sleep apnea. If you still find it challenging to make up your mind, she recommends the best oral appliance therapy device for you. This will help you make your choice faster.


While a dental appliance is very effective for treating sleep apnea, you need to consult your dentist before you get one. Your dentist will examine your condition and tell you if you need the device or not. You can consult Dr. Uparika Sharma in Bellevue to learn about the benefits of using these devices, treatment options and choose the right one for your condition.


About the Author
Dr. Uparika Sharma is the founder dentist of Bellevue Azalea Dentistry. In addition to general dental procedures, she evaluates TMJ, cervical spine, airway problems, chronic headache, and CRPS.


Dr. Uparika Sharma is a trusted dentist. She has been practicing for over 5 years at Bellevue Azalea Dentistry clinic. She holds a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) degree from the University of Washington. Dr. Uparika Sharma is a member of the American Dental Association.