How to take care of your oral sleep appliance

How to take care of your oral sleep appliance

We all know how important a good night’s sleep is for our overall health and well-being. And for those of us who suffer from sleep apnea, an oral sleep appliance can be a real lifesaver. These small, custom-made devices work by repositioning your jaw to keep your airway open during sleep, ensuring you get the restful, refreshing sleep you need.

But just like any other device, oral sleep appliances require proper care and maintenance to work effectively and last longer. In this post, we’ll provide you with the best practices and tips for taking care of your oral sleep appliance!

General guidelines for oral sleep appliance care

Taking care of your oral sleep appliance is an important part of managing your sleep apnea. By following these guidelines, you can ensure your oral sleep appliance continues to function effectively, providing the best relief for your sleep apnea. Take good care of your device and sleep soundly knowing you’re doing everything possible to keep it in top shape!

1. Handling and storing the appliance

Properly handling and storing your oral sleep appliance is essential to keep it working effectively and prevent any damage. Some things you should remember while handling your oral aplliance are: 

  • Always use your fingers to gently grip it from the back and front, when taking your device in and out of your mouth.
  • Avoid using your teeth to remove your appliance, as this can cause damage or breakage.
  • When you’re not using your oral sleep appliance, store it in a clean, dry container that is vented to allow air to circulate and prevent bacteria from growing.
  • Avoid leaving your device in direct sunlight or heat, as this can warp or damage the material. 

2. Cleaning the appliance

Regular cleaning is a crucial part of taking care of your oral sleep appliance, as it helps prevent bacteria, debris, and odors from accumulating. Clean your appliance at least once a day with a soft-bristled brush and a non-abrasive cleaning solution. Gently brush your appliance using a circular motion, making sure to reach all surfaces.

Also, perform a weekly deep cleaning to remove any buildup of minerals or stubborn stains. For this you should:

  1. Soak your appliance in a solution of water and denture cleaner, vinegar, or hydrogen peroxide for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Use your soft-bristled brush to gently scrub any remaining debris or buildup.
  3. Rinse your appliance thoroughly with water and dry it with a clean towel.

3. Inspecting the appliance for damage or wear

Regularly inspecting your oral sleep appliance for signs of damage or wear is crucial to ensure it continues to work effectively. Check for any cracks, chips, or rough spots that could irritate your mouth or interfere with the device’s function. You should also be on the lookout for any changes in the fit of your appliance, such as looseness or shifting, as this could indicate a need for adjustment or replacement

If you notice any signs of damage or wear, it’s essential to have it checked by your dentist or sleep specialist to determine whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. Generally, oral sleep appliances have a lifespan of around 5 years, soo plan to replace your device after this amount of time.

4. Regular check-ups with your dentist or sleep specialist 

Regular check-ups with your dentist or sleep specialist are a vital part of taking care of your oral sleep appliance. These check-ups allow your healthcare professional to check the fit and function of your appliance, adjust it if needed, and inspect it for any signs of wear or damage. Attend these check-ups even if you’re not experiencing any problems with your device, as small issues can be addressed and resolved before they turn into more significant problems.

Troubleshooting common problems with oral sleep appliances

Oral sleep appliances are a great solution for sleep apnea, but they can sometimes present challenges. Luckily, there are simple troubleshooting tips to help you overcome any issues you may encounter.

1. Discomfort or pain while using the appliance

Experiencing discomfort or pain while using your oral sleep appliance can be frustrating, but there are simple steps you can take to alleviate the problem. 

  1. Try adjusting the fit of your device. Your healthcare professional can guide you on how to make these adjustments correctly. 
  2. Ensure you’re using your device correctly and following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Still experiencing discomfort? Schedule an appointment to evaluate the appliance and determine if any adjustments need to be made.

In most cases, minor adjustments can be made to improve the fit and reduce any discomfort or pain. Don’t hesitate to speak with your healthcare professional and address any issues you may encounter, as they’re there to help you get the most out of your oral sleep appliance and achieve the best relief for your sleep apnea.

2. Difficulty breathing or talking while using the appliance

Finding it challenging to breathe or talk while using your oral sleep appliance can be concerning, but it’s usually easy to address. Ensure you’re using the device correctly by following the manufacturer’s instructions. It may take some time to get used to your new device, but with practice, you should become more comfortable with it.

If you’re still experiencing difficulty breathing or talking, schedule an appointment at Smiles on Hudson. We can evaluate the fit of your appliance and make any necessary adjustments to improve comfort and function. In rare cases, switching to a different type of device may be necessary.

3. Difficulty keeping the appliance in your mouth

Experiencing difficulty keeping your oral sleep appliance in your mouth can be frustrating, but it’s a common issue that can be easily addressed. Firstly, ensure you’re using the device correctly and following the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re still having difficulty, it may indicate that your device needs to be adjusted or replaced. A loose or shifting appliance can cause discomfort and interfere with its function. Visit your dentist or sleep specialist to have your device evaluated

Dental appliances set a healthy foundation for your smile’s future! Talk to us about them

Taking care of your oral sleep appliance is crucial to ensure you get the best relief for your sleep apnea! By following general guidelines, you can keep your device clean, well-maintained, and functioning effectively.

At Smiles on Hudson, our experienced team can provide you with a comprehensive evaluation of your oral sleep appliance and offer you the best advice on how to take care of it. We’re always ready to help our patients achieve optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and ensure your oral sleep appliance provides you with the best relief for your sleep apnea. Remember, a healthy mouth equals a healthy life!

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