Oral appliances are a treatment option for the sleep disordered breathing condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This option is ideal for patients who cannot tolerate Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Oftentimes, individuals suffering from sleep apnea try CPAP as a treatment for their sleep apnea, and then cease using their device, and thus, stop treating their sleep apnea. In this article, we will compare features of some of the most popular oral appliances available.
Oral appliances are another option to treat sleep apnea that is less intrusive, portable, and comfortable. They are very effective as a treatment option for OSA patients due to higher retention rates. Oral appliances are used like a mouthguard or retainer, and function by advancing your lower jaw while you sleep, and opening the space behind your tongue to increase airflow and stop any blockage.
At Pittsburgh Dental Sleep Medicine, we carry a multitude of different devices so our patients have options, and have a higher chance of finding the ideal dental device for their unique situation. All of the oral appliances we create or supply are custom fit to your mouth, and have received FDA clearance. Read more about our most popular devices below to learn about the various features of the devices, and how they differ from one another.
The MicrO2 oral appliance is made by Prosomnus, a division of MicroDental Laboratories. This device is designed to offer a large amount of tongue space, and also gives the wearer the ability to open and close their mouth during wear. The unit is designed to be both small and comfortable, while holding the jaw in a slightly forward position to open the airway, like the other devices listed below.
The Herbst Advance™ oral appliance is made by SomnoMed®. The device is designed to have a high level of performance and give the patient more control. The device features a visual calibration indicator (pictured right), which is where the lower and upper sections of the device connect. The calibration indicator empowers both us and the patient with the ability to adjust the appliance as necessary, and simultaneously tells us when the device is fully extended. This appliances has a longer range of advancement at 8mm than most oral appliances that have a standard range of 5mm. The Herbst Advance™ is covered by Somnodent 2-3 year warranty against manufacturer defects.
The Narval™ CC oral appliance is created by ResMed. This dental device is one of the lightest devices on the oral appliance market. It is developed to be discreet and comfortable while being effective. One feature worth mentioning for this device is that you can talk and drink with it, as well as close your mouth and breathe through your nose with it, unlike most other devices. This device connects in the back corners, where the lower and upper sections of the device fit into one another, as you can see in the image above. ResMed states that the Narval™ is “a solution so comfortable, you’ll never want to go a night without it.”
The Medley Gold appliances represent a revolutionary development in oral appliance therapy. As the name implies, the Medley series of appliances can change into any one of 3 different design types without having to remake the appliance itself (2 of 3 pictured above). A rigid nylon link connector is very comfortable and effective for the vast majority of patients. However, a stretchable, elastomeric strap is available for patients with sore jaw joints. In addition, a Herbst-type rod/sleeve mechanism can be utilized when indicated.
TAP stands for Thornton Adjustable Positioner. This device functions differently than other devices in how the upper and lower sections connect in the front area as you can see in the image above. This device utilizes a front connector as “a hook mechanism attached to the upper tray which fits into a socket attached to the lower tray and positions the lower jaw forward.” This design allows for more range of motion laterally than other devices.
For more information about sleep apnea and oral appliances, browse through all of our blogs, or check out the blogs listed below:
- What to Expect at Oral Appliance Consultation
- What Sleep Apnea Treatment to Try When CPAP Just Doesn’t Work For You
- Understanding Sleep Apnea
If you would like to schedule an appointment for an oral appliance consultation at one of our 4 locations in and around Pittsburgh, give us a call at 724-935-6670. We have locations throughout Western Pennsylvania in Wexford, Monroeville, Downtown Pittsburgh, and Burgettstown.