If you are looking for a CPAP alternative to treat your obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a great option for most people. It can be just as effective, and it’s more comfortable. It can also be a lot more convenient than CPAP to treat sleep apnea because your oral appliance is so easy to care for.
At Rochester Advanced Dentistry, we utilize the ProSomnus Sleep and Snore Device, so these instructions are related to that device, but they’re also a good guideline to care for sleep apnea appliances generally. We’re being thorough here, but even so, you’ll see that it’s not hard taking care of your oral appliance.
Clean Your Teeth Before Inserting Your Appliance
Your teeth are the primary source of dirt and bacteria that can discolor your appliance or cause it to pick up odors. To keep your appliance clean, you should keep your teeth clean. Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly before inserting your oral appliance.
Generally, it’s best not to use mouthwash before inserting your appliance. Many mouthwashes contain dyes that can discolor your appliance. It might even be worse than that: alcohol in mouthwash can affect your appliances, degrading the plastic. If you want to use mouthwash at night, select something free of dyes and alcohol. Then, rinse your mouth thoroughly before inserting your appliance. Often, it’s best to wait until after removing your appliance to use mouthwash.
Inspect Your Appliance
Check out your appliance before you put it in. Oral appliances are durable and can often last ten years or more. However, it’s important to ensure your appliance isn’t broken before inserting it. A damaged appliance might not provide good results, but it could also lead to problems by holding your jaw in the wrong position.
How to Clean Your Appliance
Clean your appliance every morning after you remove it. Rinse your appliance in cool or warm water. Never put your appliance in boiling water or even tap hot water. This can warp or otherwise damage the appliance.
Once rinsed, clean your appliance with hand soap. It’s not necessary to use antibacterial soap, but you can. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help you reach everywhere in the appliance. A child’s toothbrush can sometimes be a better choice to help you reach all the parts of your appliance because the head is smaller. Some people find a denture cleaning brush even better, but ensure it has soft bristles.
Never clean your appliance with toothpaste. Toothpaste is abrasive and can scratch your appliance. Scratches can make your appliance look unattractive–dull and/or discolored–and can shelter bacteria that will give your appliance an unpleasant odor.
After cleaning, put your appliance in its case to dry.
Do I Need to Soak My Oral Appliance?
No. It is not necessary to soak your oral appliance. Prosomnus recommends against soaking the appliance regularly. Once-daily cleaning is typically all it takes to keep your appliance from discoloring or picking up odors.
However, if your appliance isn’t getting clean enough, an occasional short soak of about 15 minutes every few weeks can help.
Never soak your appliance in a solution that might damage it, including:
Water that is boiling or tap-hot
Cleaners intended for other oral appliances
These can damage your appliance. Remember: different appliances use different cleaning compounds because they’re made of different materials. Just because a cleaning solution says it’s suitable for one type of oral appliance does not mean it’s good for yours.
The same is true for denture cleaners. Some specific appliances might say that you can clean them with denture cleaners, but they might specify a particular type of denture cleaner, such as one intended for partial dentures that includes metal and plastic. Do not assume a denture cleaner is good for your oral appliance unless the manufacturer says so.
How to Store Your Appliance
Store your appliance in a cool, dry place. Ideally, you should use the case your dentist provided for the appliance. If you don’t have that case, use a hard-sided plastic container with adequate ventilation to allow the appliance to dry thoroughly between uses.
Store your case out of reach of children and pets. Dogs like to chew oral appliances, which can ruin them. Children sometimes want to play with appliances, leading to lost or broken appliances.
Keep your appliance out of direct sunlight. Do not store your appliance in temperatures over 140° F. If you drive long distances regularly–especially if you’re a truck driver–make sure you have a good place to store your oral appliance in the car that won’t get too hot.
Can I Repair My Oral Appliance?
Generally, you cannot repair your oral appliance. If you have an appliance that you can repair, we will issue you a repair kit featuring tools and materials to safely and effectively address common problems. Tools and materials around your home might damage your appliance or be toxic.
A poorly repaired appliance might not treat your sleep apnea. It might also lead to bite problems, such as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD).
If your appliance is damaged, contact sleep apnea treatment dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad. He can evaluate your appliance to determine if it is repairable or if you will need a new appliance.
Learn How Easy Oral Appliance Therapy Can Be
If you want to learn more about oral appliance therapy, let Rochester Advanced Dentistry help. Sleep dentist Dr. Jeffrey S. Haddad can help determine whether you are a good candidate for oral appliance therapy.
Please call (248) 656-2020 or use our online form today to request an appointment at Rochester Advanced Dentistry, serving the Detroit area, from our location in Rochester.