Oral Sleep Apnea Appliances − Olympia WA

Illustration showing the impacted location of obstructive sleep apnea

We are excited to announce that the craniofacial pain and dental sleep medicine part of our practice is now operating two full days per week. Do you have chronic headaches? Facial pain? Jaw pain? Migraines? Does your jaw click or pop or is it difficult to open wide? Have you been told you have “TMJ,” but have not received treatment or relief? Do you suffer from snoring or untreated sleep apnea? Does your bed partner? If you answer yes to any of these questions, or, as is often the case, more than one of them, we can help! I have limited 50% of my practice to the non-surgical treatment of craniofacial pain and sleep disorders (snoring, sleep apnea). By addressing root cause for these problems, we routinely change peoples lives. Decreasing or eliminating pain, improving sleep for patients and their bed partners, treating chronic disease to not only improve quality of life, but to significantly decrease the risk of early death from chronic systemic diseases. If you are ready to address your pain or sleep concerns, call and we’ll schedule a virtual consult with Dr. Russell. From the comfort of your home, together we can discuss the possibilities.

What is the process?

If you are considering an oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea or are experiencing recent or chronic TMJ and/or craniofacial pain, your first step is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Russell.  The consult will be held virtually from the comfort of your home! During the consultation we will discuss your history, symptoms and desires so that we have an understanding of what treatment success looks like for you.  This is also our first step in determining if you are a good candidate for oral appliance therapy.  At that point, Dr. Russell can make his recommendation for your next step in treatment which will likely involve an in-depth examination and 3D imaging.  Treatment can often be initiated on the same day as the examination. 

Dental Sleep Medicine

Dental sleep medicine is the management of sleep-related breathing disorders, including Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), with Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). OSA must be diagnosed by Sleep Physicians, but specially trained dentists such as Dr. Russell can provide treatment if you suffer from a sleep disorder.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), oral appliances are indicated for mild- to moderate- sufferers of OSA who prefer OAT to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy and severe sufferers who have tried CPAP and failed.

Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing while sleeping. This can occur hundreds of times a night and for long periods of time. Untreated, sleep apnea can cause high blood pressure and other cardiovascular disease (stroke), memory problems, weight gain, impotency, heartburn, depression and headaches. Moreover, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for job impairment and motor vehicle crashes.

Snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea and even when not, can be a significant strain on relationships with bed partners as well as leading to awkward social situations.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway gets blocked, usually by the soft tissue of the throat.

Click here to read Dr. Russell’s article on Sleep Apnea on ThurstonTalk.com

Do you have sleep apnea?
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment!

Olympia Office Phone Number 360-742-3912 Email Us

Oral Applicances

Oral appliances are used to reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula, thus reducing or eliminating soft tissue blockage of the airway during sleep.  There are various types of oral appliances the can be fabricated by dental professionals, each with specific advantages and disadvantages based on the clinical situation. Oral appliances may be used alone or in combination with other treatments for sleep-related breathing disorders, such as weight management, surgery or CPAP. The most common appliance used in our office is the SUE (SUAD Ultra Elite), second generation:

SUE Second Generation sleep apnea appliance

How do I know if I have sleep apnea?

Dr. Russell and/or your physician can discuss your specific risk factors for sleep apnea and can refer you to a board certified sleep physician for evaluation. Once a diagnosis has been obtained, treatment options can be discussed with the sleep physician and Dr. Russell.

Standards of Care for Oral Appliance Therapy

  • Patients with primary snoring or mild OSA who do not respond to, or are not appropriate candidates for treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep-position change.
  • Patients with moderate to severe OSA should have an initial trial of nasal CPAP, due to greater effectiveness with the use of oral appliances.
  • Patients with moderate to severe OSA who are intolerant of or refuse treatment with nasal CPAP. Oral appliances are also indicated for patients who refuse treatment, or are not candidates for surgical intervention.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy involves the selection, fitting and use of a specially designed oral appliance that maintains an open, unobstructed airway in the throat when worn during sleep. Custom-made oral appliances are proven to be more effective than over-the-counter devices, which are not recommended as a screening tool or as a therapeutic option.

Dr. Russell is familiar with the various designs of appliances and can help determine which is best suited for your specific needs. A board certified sleep medicine physician must first provide a diagnosis and recommend the most effective treatment approach. Dr. Russell may then provide treatment and follow-up.

The initial evaluation phase of oral appliance therapy can take several weeks or months to complete. This includes examination, evaluation to determine the most appropriate oral appliance, fitting, maximizing adaptation of the appliance, and the function.

Ongoing care, including short- and long-term follow-up is an essential step in the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy. Follow-up care serves to assess the treatment of your sleep disorder, the condition of your appliance, your physical response to your appliance, and to ensure that it is comfortable and effective.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

  • Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find that it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimated to wearing the appliance.
  • Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
  • Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive.

How Oral Appliances Work

  • Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
  • Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue

Helpful Links

Russell and Bode Family Dentistry

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Olympia Office Phone Number 360-742-3912
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Our office hours are Tueday through Thursday 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM,
and Fridays 7:30 AM - 3:30 PM.