How can I tell if I’m a good candidate for a mouthpiece?

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

I truly believe that the properly made and maintained mouthpiece (called an oral appliance) can help most patients, at almost any age, with apnea, snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, and more than occasionally for insomnia. But how can you tell if you are a candidate for this particular treatment?

As with many other things in life, timing is important. Have you just completed any major orthodontic procedure? This is a major factor. If it’s been over a year since you’ve completed orthodontics and the position and strength of your teeth have stabilized, then you may be ready.

Additionally, ask yourself if you’re ready for the long-term commitment to health. Though the process is usually only weeks long, your personal involvement is essential. For instance, when you begin using a mouthpiece that brings your jaw forward, there can be some shifting of your teeth and your jaw; in fact, your jaw joint can actually remodel slightly, and your teeth may not bite in exactly the right place. To address this issue, we provide you with a “morning positioner” that can help you make sure your teeth and jaw are going back into position, and we’ll teach you how to use that positioner properly. Still, it’s up to you to stay on top of this process between visits and follow-ups to our offices, and to let us know if there’s a change, so we can address it quickly.

You need to be willing to follow up with us as well. If you have a mouthpiece and you don’t stay in touch with your dentist, your bite could change and you wouldn’t know it until your next visit … and so that visit should be soon and regular.

Dental oral appliances to treat sleep disorders have great potential. But it’s important to know when to get them, how to use them, and how to maintain them and use them properly. And regular contact and follow-up with Dr. Simmons and the Encino Center for Sleep and TMJ Disorders is important to ensure the best outcome.