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Your Healthy Family: Getting fit for an oral appliance for snori - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

Your Healthy Family: Getting fit for an oral appliance for snoring and apnea

An oral appliance has to be custom made for each person. The fitting process includes an exam to check the health of the muscles in the head neck, mouth and jaw. An oral appliance has to be custom made for each person. The fitting process includes an exam to check the health of the muscles in the head neck, mouth and jaw.
COLORADO SPRINGS -

Through the month of May, on Mondays I have been highlighting my quest to cut down on my snoring for the sake of my poor wife.  In our last story we talked about my home sleep study given to me by Dr. Christina Cairns, with Colorado Springs Sleep Apnea and Snoring Solutions.

Dr. Cairns is a dentist, who now focuses her practice exclusively on sleep dentistry.  The results of my home sleep test that is used by Dr. Cairns to screen patients, raised some small red flags so she referred me back to my primary care doctors.  The home sleep test showed what Dr. Cairns described as a very mild case of obstructive sleep apnea.  My primary care doctor reviewed the home sleep test data, and based on my other health issues he is managing he concluded that in in-lab sleep study was not needed at this time, and that using an oral appliance would be an appropriate step.

An oral appliance has to be custom made for each person.  With the green light from my primary care doctor Dr. Cairns is ready to plow ahead with the fitting process that includes an exam to check the health of the muscles in my head neck and mouth and jaw both inside and outside.

Also through the exam Dr. Cairns determines the best position for my jaw to open the airway based on the range of motion of my jaw in many directions.

Once the overall health of the jaw is determined, and the proper position for the bite Dr Cairns makes molds of different stages of my bite that look like pieces of chewed gum.  The last step is making dental impressions just like at the orthodontist when someone is fit for braces.  Dr. Cairns adds that if all these steps are not followed an appliance could potentially do damage to your bite or jaw over a long period of time.

Once made, the molds are shipped to a lab out of state where the appliance is made.  That process takes a few weeks.  The fitting process is very detailed and takes about an hour to go through it all.  It’s important to understand the lengths anyone who makes an oral sleep appliance should be going to, so as to ensure they properly fitting someone for a dental appliance for snoring or mild to moderate sleep apnea.  It’s not as simple as boiling a plastic  sports mouthpiece in hot water and biting down on it for 20 seconds to make a custom mouth appliance.  

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