Oral appliances are the devices applied to the patients oral cavity for a certain period of time to treat various disorders associated with the oral cavity. Oral appliances are commonly used to treat sleeping apnea and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Types of oral appliances
There are several types of oral appliances available depending on the type of disorder in oral cavity. These include:
- Mandibular repositioning devices
Mandibular repositioning devices are made of heat sensitive acrylic material. These are custom fitted to each patient’s mouth. These are used to treat sleeping apnea. Patients with sleeping apnea have narrowed air ways during sleeping. It is fitted to the lower jaw to reposition the mandible to the normal position. This will push the tongue and soft tissue to open the air ways and restore normal breathing during sleeping.
- Tongue retaining devices
It is used in patients with elongated tongue. It is a device used to keep the tongue in normal position during sleeping. It is used to treat obstructive sleeping apnea syndrome. It is a custom made device made up of soft pliable material. It should be worn while sleeping. It has a compartment in which tongue is positioned by means of negative pressure. Tongue retaining devices require adaptation to the patient holding tongue in the compartment. Therefore tongue exercise and adaption program is given prior to the insertion of tongue retaining device.
- Orthodontic appliances
Orthodontic appliances are the devices applied to the teeth to position them in normal position. Orthodontic appliances include orthodontic retainers and space maintainers.
- Orthodontic retainers are custom made orthodontic appliances used to position the teeth in its place after removal of braces. Orthodontic retainers are either fixed or removable retainers.
- Space maintainers are used to keep the space for the permanent teeth to erupt and come out of the gums. If these are not used the gap created by the missing tooth replaced by the shifting of the adjacent teeth then surgery is necessary to correct the abnormality. These are custom made by the orthodontist and made up of plastic or metallic material. Space retainers are either fixed or removable.