There are numerous sleep apnea appliances on the market and improvements and changes are continuous in this growing field. At a time when medical sleep specialists are now starting to recognize the benefits of referring patients for Oral appliance therapy (OAT), more and more patients are able to use these in place of CPAP machines. CPAP machines do work for many patients, however, many cannot tolerate the mask or sleep well with them.
In our practice, I personally use different types of appliances for different patients. One reason is the impingement of the appliances on the tongue space. This often creates a situation in which dentist try to compensate by advancing the jaw more forward than is necessary. This is one of the reasons that I really like the new LVI Somnadent appliance which is minimal on the tongue side. By using this appliance, we are able to allow greater patient comfort and less protrusion of the jaw which in turn causes less TMJ problems.
In addition to the use of the LVI Somnadent, our practice is also using computer assisted technology with EMGs (similar to EKGs for your heart) to determine the most comfortable position for the appliance with the least amount of strain to the muscles.
Our patients have been doing very well and are most pleased with the comfort and size of these new appliances. I have also been pleased with the improved results that we are seeing. Additionally, LVI Somnadent is FDA approved.