Successful Sleep Dentistry Article #4

Check Points to Select the Oral Appliance That’s Right for Your Patient

The Oral Appliance you choose impacts the result of treatment

The type of oral appliance (OA) chosen for a patient suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has a significant impact on the patient’s compliance and overall success of treatment. Since each patient is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all OA, dentists must educate themselves to look beyond just the dental conditions of their patients. In this article, the fourth installment in a series providing advice and tips for dentists expanding their practice into sleep dentistry, we examine four key factors to selecting the most suitable OA for your OSA patients.

1. Anatomical Conditions

The anatomic features of the patient are keys to selecting the most appropriate OA. Some patients will present nasal resistance, or trouble breathing through their nose, in this instance an appliance that allows for maximum anterior movement of soft palate is needed to assist with breathing throughout the night.

2. Intraoral Conditions

Often the success of OA treatment relies on whether the dentist can create a sufficiently large airway without moving the patient’s jaw too forward – there are OA’s designed to specifically address this issue. Additionally, OSA patients often have a significantly larger tongue; tongue size, therefore, should be one of several features evaluated by dentists when selecting an oral appliance. Check the patient’s tongue condition, soft palate (Mallampati score chart) and hard palate shape, if a patient has a narrow arch or Class 3 occlusion they will need an oral appliance with the following features.

3. Dental Conditions

The dental condition is another key area for choosing the right OA, and often it can lead to a specific request to your lab for the retention. There are several things to consider, one of which is whether the patient wears dentures. Denture wearers tend to have weaker jaw muscles, which increase their likelihood of suffering from sleep apnea. There are OA solutions for denture wearers; and by selecting the right OA the dentist can treat their patients for edentulous issues as well as sleep apnea symptoms. 

4. Symptomatic Conditions

It is critical to understand patient symptoms or sleep related movement disorders your patients may have. For example, those who grind or clench their teeth throughout the night will need an OA that is particularly durable with free range of motion. It’s also important to find out if they have a strong gag reflex or TMJ to help you choose the most appropriate type of OA.

Sleep Appliance Product Map

Dentists require access to a range of OA to ensure each of their patients can get an OA that best suits their particular needs.  To help dentists provide optimal treatment, Whole You, a medical device company, has created six unique oral appliances that cover a range of conditions, plus its lab can provide further customizations and accessories. Use the guide below as a checklist to help you select the most suitable product for the patient’s unique conditions. Below shows a part of the product map, and you can also download full PDF chart here.

Your Next Step

If you are a dentist who is interested in oral appliance therapy to add as a treatment option for your patients, or an existing sleep dentist interested in learning more, please call Whole You™ at 718-643-7326 or visit

Further Reading

Successful Sleep Dentistry Article Series

#1 :Identifying Sleep Apnea in Your Dental Patient

#2 :The Do’s & Don’ts During Your Patients’ First Sleep Apnea Consultation

#3 :Five Steps For A Successful Relationship With A Sleep Physician

#5 :A Sleep Dentist’s Guide to Begin Medical Insurance Billing

Other Sleep Apnea related articles

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