All occlusal guards are made with specific thermo-plastic materials depending on the type of guard required. These materials are all durable but eventually start to wear down due to use and may need to be remade for proper efficacy. This is dependent on the nature of use and each patients habits.
Night guards are used for bruxism (grinding) at night or throughout the day. Bruxism can cause a number of complications including: fractured teeth, sensitivity, bone loss, and a sore jaw. It is usually from stress and/or medications. The night guard is usually made for the top teeth and provides a flat smooth surface for the teeth to glide across without damaging tooth structure.
Sports Mouth Guards
Mouth guards for sports can be made for any sport and provides a cushion for when teeth forcefully come in contact. Studies show that a proper mouth guard can help prevent concussions by reducing the force transferred from impact to the brain. Mouth guards made by the dentist are made from impressions of your teeth to ensure the best and closest fit possible.
TAP Appliance for sleep apnea
A Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP) is a two-piece jaw repositioning device designed to treat snoring and sleep apnea. The TAP appliance is made up of a mandibular and maxillary component which are connected by a hinge and pivot point that are fixed during sleep. This appliance basically holds the lower jaw forward and slightly open, which pulls the tongue forward. This positioning keeps the airway open between the back of the tongue, soft tissues of the throat and the uvula.
The TAP appliance has been shown to improve nighttime breathing and eliminate snoring for more than 95% of patients. It has also been shown to be an effective treatment for sleep apnea, reducing the occurrence of associated health risks without the need for medication or surgery. A TAP device can also effectively substitute the use of a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine.
Sleep apnea is when the tongue and soft tissues tend to fall backward and collapse on each other blocking the patient’s breathing while sleeping. If the airway is not totally blocked off, the small, uneven amount of air that does pass is what causes the loud obnoxious snoring commonly associated with sleep apnea. If the airway is totally blocked and sufficient air is not getting to the lungs, the patient stops breathing until the brain senses CO2 building up. The brain then kicks the body into action by causing an abrupt gasping of breath in an attempt to get air into the lungs and re-oxygenate the brain. This whole process occurs subconsciously without waking the patient and can happen hundreds of times in one night.
Treatment of mild cases o Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can be treated with a few lifestyle changes, like losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and smoking cessation. Mild to moderate OSA can easily be treated with a TAP appliance that keeps the airway open while sleeping. More severe cases may require surgery or an airflow machine known as a CPAP, which forces air into the nose to keep the airway open.
Diagnosis must be done by a sleep specialist and prior to obtaining a TAP appliance, but the process can be started with a primary care physician. If you think you may have sleep apnea, consider keeping a sleep diary to share with your doctor.
Consult a physician if you have a history of: disruptive snoring, witnessed apnea or snorts, gasping/choking while sleeping, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty with concentration or short-term memory loss, excessive night urination, difficulty with sleep maintenance, restless/unrefreshing sleep, decreased libido, morning headaches, and/or irritability.