Many people wear oral appliances at some point in their lives. A dental appliance is any artificial apparatus designed to protect, repair, or replace the teeth. Some dental appliances are temporary and removable, where as others are permanent and fixated within the mouth. Professionally-produced oral appliances are designed to be minimally obtrusive and easy to wear.
Did you know…
That dental appliance wear often begins at a young age? Children may be fitted for dental mouth guards, braces, retainers, or even spacers all before they reach adolescence. But appliances aren’t just for kids – adults can now enjoy discreet braces and retainers, as well as natural-looking restorations for damaged or missing teeth. Custom-fitted occlusal guards are also common among patients of all ages to treat nighttime tooth grinding, bruxism, TMJ, snoring, and even sleep apnea.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to be professionally fit for an oral appliance?
Yes. Only a dentist and dental lab can deliver custom-fit that produces optimal protection and results. Although some appliances like sports and nighttime mouth guards are available for purchase over-the-counter, they are not custom-fit to meet a patient’s needs. If you think you may need an oral appliance, see your dentist for a personalized dental apparatus that will help you achieve your oral health goals.
What should I expect when being fit for an oral appliance?
Your experience will vary according to the type of appliance you are being fitted for. However, nearly all oral appliances require that your dentist takes an impression of your teeth and bite to ensure an exact fit. Your impression may be sent to a dental lab for professional fabrication. Once your appliance is ready, you’ll return to your dentist for a final fitting.
Will I need to follow any special instructions concerning my new oral appliance?
Possibly. Your dentist will instruct you on how to care for your device, including how to store removable appliances and how frequently to wear them. If your appliance is fixed in your mouth, you may need to follow special dietary guidelines to avoid hard or sticky foods. Any new appliance takes time to adapt to, but be sure to notify your dentist if your new oral appliance is painful or uncomfortable to wear. As always, be sure to floss and brush twice daily, and continue to visit your dentist for routine cleanings and exams twice each year.