Oct 14

In the next few posts I’ll be reviewing some of the different dental sleep apnea appliances that are used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. These dental sleep apnea appliances are also called mandibular advancement devices, dental sleep apnea mouth pieces, mandibular advancement sleep apnea splints. In essence, they all do basically the same thing. They advance the mandible (the lower jaw) forward.   The differences are in the design and patient comfort.  Since the tongue is connected to the mandible, this forward  movement opens the airway and allows the sleep apnea patient to breathe better. The sleep apnea dental appliance can be used alone, or in combination with a cpap, or pap device. This later is called combination sleep apnea therapy.

In this post I will highlight one of the most widely used dental sleep apnea appliances, the TAP 3.According to the inventor of the appliance, Dr. Thornton, there are approximately 7,000 dentists worldwide that are prescribing the appliance for their patients that suffer with sleep apnea.

As far as the design is concerned, it is quite simple. It consists of an upper and lower acrylic appliance, that connects the upper and lower jaws through a hook and socket mechanism. One of the features that I like the best is the ability to have the patient adjust the appliance themselves. There is a small dial on the front of the lower appliance that allows the patient, dentist, or physician to adjust the appliance as needed. I jokingly call this dial the volume control, because if the patient is snoring the patients husband or wife can adjust the appliance to quite the snoring.

The TAP3 is best used for patients that have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It is also used successfully for people that are CPAP intolerant. If you fit into either one of these categories please seek guidance from your physician or dentist. Dr. Zach Hodgins practices dentistry in Orlando, FL and has successfully treated many patients with dental sleep apnea appliances. If you need assistance with your sleep apnea treatment, and or you are unhappy with your CPAP please contact Dr. Zach Hodgins‘ office at 407.647.1744

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