Dr. Abelar’s experience and training in Neuromuscular dentistry includes a great deal of experience with oral appliances. For obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is extremely effective, safe and very well tolerated by sleep apnea patients. Oral appliances are medically tested and certified as effective for managing mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. ‘Snore guards” or other over-the-counter devices, including snoring remedies are not recommended for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, and can be dangerous because they lure the patient into a false sense of security. Obstructive sleep apnea is a deadly disease if not treated. If a patient only addresses the symptom of snoring, the health risks of obstructive sleep apnea are not addressed and therefore can be life-threatening. Along the same lines, take-home sleep studies are good for baseline assessment and charting progress but are not replacements for medically supervised PSG (sleep study).
Dr. Abelar believes oral appliance therapy should not necessarily compete with CPAP as a proper management of obstructive sleep apnea. Some dental sleep treatments are marketed as replacements for CPAP, but this practice may not be in the patient’s best interest for their health. When used and prescribed properly, oral appliances are simply another option for successful treatment.
Dr. Abelar believes all possible cases of obstructive sleep apnea should first be diagnosed properly by qualified physicians. Following a diagnosis for obstructive sleep apnea, the patient’s condition should be managed with a coordinated team approach. Improperly-treated obstructive sleep apnea may lead to unhealthy medical complications including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Thus, a long-term approach to create a sustainable solution the patient can and will use for a lifetime.
Oral appliance therapy has few possible complications including slight movement of teeth, opening of spaces between teeth, increase in TMJ pain like headaches, jaw and tooth pain, joint pain. Additionally, this sort of therapy can change the bite, making it not as uniform as before the oral appliance therapy. In oral appliance therapy, there are acceptable complications given the serious nature of untreated or poorly treated chronic obstructive sleep apnea. Dr. Abelar is a TMJ expert and can treat any TMJ symptoms that come up as a result of the oral appliance therapy treatment.