The Sleep Apnea syndrome is a pathological situation characterized by recurrent episodes of not breathing during sleep. These have the form of apnea or hypopnea due to partial or complete obstruction of the upper airways. It is a very common disease where symptoms are witnessed in the patients such as heavy snoring, sleepiness during the day and unjustified fatigue.
The intraoral appliances are movable orthodontic appliances that are used by the patient during sleep that are divided into those aiming at the frontal movement of the lower jaw (Mandibular Repositioner) or the frontal tongue position (Tongue-retaining device). The aim of these orthodontic appliances is to move the lower jaw or/and only the base of the tongue to a more frontal position, by activating a series of muscles. Their philosophy is to prevent the tongue from slipping towards the posterior pharyngeal wall and to open the lower part of the hypopharynx so that the respiratory function is unobtrusive. In that way the orthodontic appliances that move the lower jaw towards the front and increase the respiratory space at the tongue level help significantly patients with heavy snoring and Sleep Apnea.
The devices for the therapy of obtrusive Sleep Apnea are classified according to their function into:
1. Appliances for the movement and retaining of the tongue in a more frontal position,
2. ASLP (Adjustable Soft Palate Lifter) press the soft palate,
3. TOPS (Tepper Oral Proprioceptive tepper oral proprioceptive stimulation) for the encouragement of the tongue to a position and
4. Repositioners of the lower jaw for its frontal movement (MandibularRepositioners).
In conclusion we could say that the orthodontic splints for the treatment of the sleep apnea offer to treat the symptoms with very good results.
They have been placed in patients irrespective of age.
All the above types of splints have been developed in laboratories and as we saw they differ mostly with respect to the means of their activation.
The cost of their construction, renders them more accessible than the extra-oral constructions and varies according to the type and the kind we use.
The selection of the appliance lies clearly in the responsibility of the clinic doctor as they come in direct contact with the patient and his/her problem.
It is positive that a simultaneous use can be made with the extra-oral C.P.A.P. appliances. The therapeutic treatment of patients with the use of orthodontic appliances has very well proved therapeutic results that according to the bibliography they reach a success rate of 70-87%.
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