Patients and physicians working in the world of sleep disorders often ask this question:
Can a person be prescribed an oral sleep apnea mouth guard if they have dental implants?
The short answer is yes, but it would be wise to read on.
Oral appliance therapy is the dental practice of providing a variety of mouth or tongue retainers that treat snoring and apnea by a licensed dentist; preferably a “qualified dentist” through the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
There are 2 categories of oral appliances used to treat snoring and apnea: mandibular advancement splints (also called mandibular repositioning devices) and tongue retaining or stabilizing devices.
The most commonly prescribed dental oral appliances for snoring and sleep apnea by trained healthcare professionals are mandibular advancement splints. These splints are more researched and usually better received by patients. Many of these splints are also custom made resulting in increased comfort and the compliance of snoring and apnea patients using them.
Tips for Wearing a Mouthguard with Dental Implants
If you have dental implants and have been prescribed or considering wearing a mouthguard for snoring or apnea, here are a few tips that would be wise to consider:
- Although patients with implants are usually excellent candidates for oral appliance therapy, seeking guidance from an experienced and qualified dental provider in the field of dental sleep medicine is strongly advised. It is possible that your general dentist is also trained in dental sleep medicine, but it would be wise to ask about his/her level of experience with custom oral sleep apnea devices.
- The sleep disorder trained dentist may consult with your general dentist or dental surgical specialist on the following:
- The progress of healing of the implant
- The overall prognosis of your dental condition
- Any contraindications to be aware of
- One of the potential side effects of oral appliance therapy is slight tooth movement. In the case of implants, because bone grows directly to implants, there may be less chance of tooth movement.
- Less commonly prescribed by dental sleep medicine practitioners may involve the second category of oral appliances, called tongue retaining devices. These stabilize your tongue in a forward position often without extending over your teeth. Although these types of snoring and apnea mouth retainers are far less common than mandibular advancement splints, some patients find successful treatment using them.
- The use of over the counter or internet devices is strongly discouraged in many snoring and apnea treatments; especially in someone who has had extensive dental work. These self-made “boil and bite” devices are made without the guidance of a dentist- leaving you with higher risk of the dangers associated with self treating your medical condition. (And yes, snoring is a medical condition!)
If you have dental implants and considering wearing a sleep apnea mouthguard or retainer, the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is an excellent resource to help you find a qualified dentist near you that can help you get started to treating your snoring or apnea conditions with dental apnea mouthguards.
These articles may be of interest: