What Is Considered an Oral Appliance?

What Is Considered an Oral Appliance?

Oct 17, 2022

Thanks to advancements in dentistry, there are better ways to deal with dental problems and promote excellent oral health. Generally, you can use oral appliances for preventive, restorative, or cosmetic dental care. Continue reading to find out whether you can benefit from dental appliances.

What is an Oral appliance?

An oral appliance is any device used to protect or improve oral health. Oral appliances are fitted to the mouth either temporarily or permanently. You might need a dental appliance if you have:

  • Cavities or tooth decay
  • Dental damage like chips, cracks, or breaks
  • Worn out or weakened tooth
  • Misaligned, crooked, or improperly gapped teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Poor bite
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
  • Play contact sports
  • Sleep apnea or you snore

Visit our dental office for oral appliance therapy in Andover, MA.

Types of Oral Appliances

Common oral appliances include:

Dental implants

If you’ve lost your natural teeth or tooth, the dentist can recommend dental implants to replace the teeth. Dental implants improve your bite, smile, speech, and jawbone health. The dentist places an implant post surgically into the jawbone during the procedure.

The implant bonds with the jawbone permanently within 3 – 6 months. Then, the dentist places a dental crown, which acts like an artificial tooth. An implant can last for a lifetime with proper dental care and habits.

Dental bridges

A dental bridge is an excellent alternative if you have a few missing teeth adjacent to each other. A bridge consists of artificial teeth or teeth supported by dental crowns or frameworks attached to your natural teeth. You can also get an implant-supported bridge.

Dental crowns

A crown is a tooth-like dental cap placed over a natural tooth. Since the crown covers the visible portion of the damaged tooth, it significantly improves its size, shape, strength, color, and stability. Apart from repairing tooth damage, a crown can support a large filling, dental bridge, implant, or protect a tooth after a root canal.

To place a crown, the dentist will shave a small portion of the tooth’s enamel and take impressions of the tooth and neighboring teeth. These records are sent to the dental lab to create a customized crown.

Dental fillings

Fillings treat cavities caused by decay or tooth damage. The dentist will remove the damaged parts of the tooth and use a filling material to cover the space left. Dental filling materials include silver amalgam, ceramic, composite, glass Ionomer, and gold.

Dental braces

If you have orthodontic imperfections such as poor bite, teeth misalignments, and overcrowding, your dentist can recommend orthodontic appliances like traditional braces and clear aligners like Invisalign.

Traditional braces have metal wires and brackets attached to teeth to help them move in the desired direction. Clear aligners consist of clear trays worn over the mouth to move the teeth in the preferred direction.

Dentures

Getting a denture is a cost-effective way to restore your bite function and smile if you miss a few or all of your teeth. A denture consists of artificial teeth and gums worn over the mouth.

Retainers

After completing your teeth straightening treatment, you might need to wear a retainer to ensure your newly aligned teeth stay in position. Without the aligner, the teeth will gradually return to their normal position, undoing the treatment.

Mouthguards

A mouthguard protects the teeth, gums, and jaw against external injuries. They commonly reduce the effects of teeth grinding, clenching, snoring, and sports accidents.

Oral appliances for sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep condition where your breathing stops and repeatedly begins during sleep. It’s commonly obstructed the airway when throat muscles relax too much. The dentist can recommend oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea to keep your airway open during sleep and prevent sleep apnea. These include:

  • Mandibular advancement device. These devices look like sports mouthguards. They align your jaws properly to facilitate easy breathing during sleep.
  • Tongue-retaining devices. The device holds your tongue forward during sleep, preventing it from falling back and blocking the airway.
  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). The CPAP machine blows continuous air pressure down your throat to prevent the throat muscles from collapsing, causing sleep apnea or snoring.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you interested in oral appliance therapy near you? Contact Andover Cosmetic Dental Group for more information.

Our dentists in Andover, MA also welcome patients from the below nearby areas:

  • North Andover
  • Lawrence
  • Methuen
  • Tewksbury
  • North Reading
  • Middleton
  • Wilmington
  • Dracut
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