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What Are Oral Appliances?

Photo of a protective dental mouthguard.

Oral appliances, or dental appliances, are devices that go in your mouth to help your oral or dental health in some way. They’ve been around in some form or another for centuries. For example, gold dental appliances from Etrusca were used to keep real and fake teeth in place. These days, there have been vast improvements in not only how these oral appliances are made but also what kinds of options exist for different dental maladies.

Oral Appliances for Replacing Missing Teeth

Some oral appliances that you might already be familiar with are those used to replace missing teeth. We’re talking about dental bridges as well as full and partial dentures. These may or may not be removable depending on which kind you get. They’re designed to replace one tooth to a whole arch of teeth.

Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea or TMJ/TMD

When you hear talk of “oral appliance” in dental circles, people are usually referring to the types of dental appliances used to treat sleep apnea or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. While CPAP machines are a common treatment option for the sleep disorder, oral appliance therapy is an option for those dealing with obstructive sleep apnea. In this case, the device repositions your jaw so that your airway doesn’t collapse and obstruct your breathing. Treatment for TMD is similar. An appliance for TMD relieves pressure on the jaw joints to reduce pain and inflammation.

Oral Appliances for Protection

Another category of oral appliances includes those used to prevent injury from occurring. The two main devices here would be sportsguards and nightguards. The former are worn in order to protect someone’s teeth and gums from damage during contact sports. The latter are worn at night to protect the teeth from clenching and grinding while sleeping.

Preventive Dentistry in Flower Mound, TX

If there’s a certain oral appliance that you’d like more information about, contact Prestige Family Dentistry. We offer a variety of oral appliances to improve your health. We’re also happy to welcome you into our Flower Mound dental practice to discuss any specific dental concerns you may have.

Prestige Family Dentistry