If you're thinking about utilizing oral appliance therapy to treat your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, it's a good idea to understand what to expect from the process overall to ensure that your end decision is an educated one. Here's what you should know about oral appliance therapy:

The Initial Exam

Once you and your doctor have determined that oral appliance therapy is likely to improve your sleep apnea symptoms, you'll need to visit your dentist for an initial examination. Your dentist will x-ray your mouth and evaluate your jaw, gums, teeth, and even your airway to determine what types of oral appliances would best fit your needs.

Using the information your dentist uncovers during the examination, they'll provide you with some appliance options that they carry and think will work best for you. Your dentist should be able to provide you with information regarding costs and any side effects that you should be aware of for all the options they give you so you can make an educated decision about which oral appliance to wear long-term.

The Fitting

After you have chosen the oral appliance you want to wear, your dentist will get to work creating the gear and making sure it's properly fitted to your unique jaw shape. First your dentist will make a model of your teeth and then send it to a lab where physical and digital impressions are utilized to create your mouthpiece. When it's complete, the piece is sent back to your dentist, at which time you'll have to go in and to be fitted. This typically involves putting the oral appliance in and wearing it for a few minutes while the dentist makes small adjustments for optimal comfort and performance.

The Followups

While your oral appliance is designed to provide a custom fit based on your jaw and teeth, there is a chance that it will need adjustments as time goes on to ensure that it performs properly. Your dentist will work with you to create a followup schedule for the months following your initial fitting so you know what to expect and have time to work your appointments into your schedule. These visits should be short, with the point being to make a few quick adjustments and get you on your way. You will also probably be asked to schedule a followup about a year after your initial fitting so your dentist can analyze whether the oral appliance is working or another option may need to be tried.

Wearing your new oral appliance every night when you sleep should help dramatically improve your sleep apnea symptoms over time. To learn more, speak with a dentist like those represented at http://silverstonefamilydental.com.