Our website recently fielded a number of questions about how Invisalign can be used with oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. What is the connection between these three things and how is any one of them affected by the others? In reality, Invisalign can be a beneficial part of a sleep apnea treatment plan. Imperfect arches sometimes cause sleep disorders, so adjusting the arches with braces or clear aligners is often helpful. Yet, if a patient is already treating their sleep apnea with an oral appliance, how can they wear the appliance on top of their clear aligners? Aligners can be removed, but you need to wear them when you sleep. Here is a potential problem, but one that the Sacramento Dentistry Group can solve.
OAT and Invisalign Do Mix
Oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea (OAT, for short) gives the patient a bedtime device that is customized to fit exactly over their teeth. The appliance keeps the airway unblocked, so the person breathes correctly while sleeping, limiting apnea episodes. With Invisalign, however, the teeth are already covered by clear aligners. An ordinary OAT device won’t fit over Invisalign.
If patients are successfully treating sleep apnea with oral appliances, our dentists want them to continue wearing an OAT device. Therefore, to receive the benefits of Invisalign, patients must use an appliance modified to work with orthodontics. These appliances are readily available in the United States.
Although orthodontic treatment can be sped up with the Propel method, it still takes anywhere from six to eighteen months to complete an adjustment plan. So the modified oral appliance is used for a considerable amount of time. At the end of orthodontic treatment, it may no longer be necessary to continue wearing an oral appliance. A new sleep assessment determines the next step after the orthodontics come off. If the patient must continue using an oral appliance, they again purchase a new one, as their teeth are now in different positions from where they were before.
The Sacramento Dentistry Group provides help with sleep apnea and orthodontic treatment. We can also help you use oral appliance therapy. For more information, contact us via our website or call our downtown dental practice at 916-538-6900.