A nightguard, occlusal splint or orthotic device is a specially designed mouth guard for people who grind their teeth, have a history of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction or have completed a full mouth reconstruction. Anyone who has had significant dental treatment or is concerned about tooth wear can benefit from a guard. An occlusal splint is custom made using detailed study models on an instrument called an articulator that simulates the movement of the jaws. The occlusal splint is made from a processed acrylic resin and is designed to guide the jaw as it moves side to side and front to back. This precise custom orthotic device not only protects the teeth from harmful habits, it also supports the TMJ and the muscles that are used in chewing.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea occurs when the airway is obstructed during sleep. The lack of oxygen during obstruction prevents deep sleep and can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. It also increases daytime sleepiness and the risk of related car and work accidents.
There are three main treatments for sleep apnea: continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, dental appliances, and surgical treatment. CPAP holds the airway open by pushing air in through a mask or nasal canula and is the gold standard for treatment. It shows the best results and is the treatment of choice for severe cases. Some patients have difficulty tolerating the CPAP machine, or are looking for a simpler solution for traveling.
A dental sleep appliance, also known as a mandibular repositioning appliance, holds the lower jaw in a forward position in order to open the airway, much like CPR. It is a good treatment option for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea without a history of jaw problems.
If you think you may have sleep apnea, or if you are having problems with snoring, ask your doctor to recommend a sleep study.