Oral Appliances

A Simple Non-invasive Treatment

One of our goals is to provide the most conservative treatment possible in every situation. Oral appliances offer simple, non-invasive care for a variety of conditions. Regardless of the application, every appliance we prescribe is custom-crafted for you with excellent fit and function.

Appliances designed on models of your teeth can be used to fit on either upper or lower teeth, or on both at the same time. Whether we’re treating nighttime sleep grinding, diagnosed obstructive sleep apnea, bite problems or jaw joint disorders, appliance therapy may aid our treatment. Dr. Bhandaru employs a variety of innovative designs depending on treatment goals and your preferences.

Types of Appliance

Over 12 million people in the United States, including some in Carrollton, TX, suffer from the dangerous disruptive sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Unfortunately, many go undiagnosed, and the risk of a heart attack is 23 times greater for a person with OSA compared to someone without it. Roughly 92% of stroke victims unknowingly live with this condition prior to being stricken by an attack.

At Carrollton Smiles, Dr. Sirishi Bhandaru and her staff fully understand the seriousness of OSA health complications, and are highly trained to provide patients with the latest education and cost-effective treatment options to address sleep apnea-related problems.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

OSA is a type of sleep apnea that occurs when muscles in the back of the throat that support your soft palate, uvula, tonsils, and the side walls of your throat and tongue, relax. As those muscles relax, your airway narrows or completely closes while you’re breathing. This restricts airflow, which can result in lower blood oxygen levels. If this happens, your brain senses that there’s too little oxygen, and wakes you up so that you can breathe properly.

This takes place so fast that you won’t typically even know it happened. This cycle plays out repeatedly for up to 30 times per hour, all night long, interfering with your body’s ability to reach those deep, restful periods of sleep it so desperately needs. As a result, instead of feeling refreshed in the morning, OSA sufferers feel tired and fatigued.

What are My OSA Treatment Options?

In addition to not ever feeling like you’ve gotten a good night’s rest, other more common OSA symptoms include:

·         Loud snoring

·         Morning headaches

·         Gasping for air while asleep

·         Waking up with a dry mouth

·         Episodes during which you stop breathing entirely, as noted by your sleeping partner

Untreated OSA can lead to or aggravate several medical conditions including fatigue, type 2 diabetes, liver function abnormalities, high blood pressure, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. It also can cause sleep deprivation to those you love most.

How is OSA Diagnosed?

OSA is usually diagnosed by a sleep physician specialist during a polysomnogram (PSG), or “sleep study”. During a sleep study, the doctor monitors brain and body sleep activity while the patient is asleep at a sleep lab. In some cases, a patient can choose to have their sleep study done at home.

The sleep specialist then evaluates the collected PSG data to diagnose any sleep disorders, including OSA, and then recommends safe treatment options. If OSA is the diagnosis, one of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine-approved primary therapies that the sleep doctor may recommend is an oral appliance under the direction of a trained sleep medicine dentist like Dr. Bhandaru.

What are My OSA Treatment Options?

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with OSA, treatment options include surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machine use, or another form of oral appliance therapy. When the OSA is mild-to-moderate, an oral appliance offers the least invasive and cost-effective method. In fact, a properly calibrated oral appliance can comfortably hold your jaw in its natural position throughout the night, which will allow critical oxygen to flow where it needs to be until you awake.

Dr. Bhandaru tells all our OSA patients that any treatment decision you make should only be done while consulting with your sleep doctor. Once you’ve made that important choice, Dr. Bhandaru and our staff may be able to provide essential support to ensure your treatment goes well. If oral appliance therapy is your choice, it is so important to use the right method and positioning of the appliance to precisely maintain your airway and good oxygen flow. One of the CPAP devices we recommend to OSA patients at Carrollton Smiles is ICON Auto+.

Learn more about ICON Auto+>

If we can assist you or a loved one who may be experiencing the symptoms of OSA, please contact Carrollton Smiles in Carrollton, TX, today for more information. Or, to schedule an initial OSA consultation with Dr. Bhandaru, call us at: (972) 245-3455.

Under normal circumstances, your teeth should only contact for about 5 minutes each day. Normal chewing results in brief intervals of contact between enamel surfaces, the hardest substance in the human body. Slight amounts of wear over years of function frequently occur, and bite edges can chip a little. But these durable surfaces should wear at nearly undetectable rates.

Sometimes teeth develop a flattened, worn appearance, even in young patients. And x-rays may demonstrate unusually thin layers of enamel as if sandpaper has been drawn across the chewing surfaces of the teeth. A few minutes of chewing daily simply shouldn’t erode the enamel so much.

You Don’t Even Know

Some patients develop a subconscious habit of grinding their teeth, either during the day or night. In many cases, the abrasive action occurs only during sleep, and for only a few seconds at a time. If you wake up with a sore jaw or a morning headache, chances run high you’re grinding your teeth during the night. In some patients, enlarged jaw muscles develop on the sides of the face from the extra activity. These muscles can be the strongest in the body, ounce for ounce. That means they can generate a lot of unnecessary damage.

The unusual activity not only wears down teeth and strains the overworked muscles. The compressive forces can also damage the intricate jaw joints on one or both sides. Damage to the joints may lead to arthritic changes, chronic pain, and popping or clicking. Once these changes settle in, reversing their condition may become impossible.

Avoiding Irreversible Damage

If you’re waking up with a sore jaw or headaches, or you’ve noticed chips or flattening of your teeth, a consult with Dr. Bhandaru should be on your list. The sooner the problem receives attention, the less damage there will be. Often a carefully calibrated night guard with a distinct bite relationship built in will eliminate the symptoms while protecting your precious enamel.

Daytime habits of clenching or grinding deserve attention, and strategies to reduce the problem may be developed. Dr. Bhandaru will also analyze the current relationship between your teeth to make sure they’re moving against each other optimally when you chew. Regardless of the cause, eliminating the strain on the jaw and your teeth as quickly as possible can save you many problems as time goes on.