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Supporting Your Practice

What Are the Side Effects Related to Oral Appliance Therapy?

Dr. John Viviano
General Dentist, Mississauga ON

In this latest episode in a series of discussions on dental sleep medicine, Dr. John O’Keefe invites Dr. John Viviano, a general dentist from Mississauga ON, to walk through the common side effects related to oral appliance therapy. While most side effects are up front and short lived, careful management of the appliance is always necessary so as to stay within the adaptive capacity of the patient.

Here are the key takeaways from the conversation:

  • For most oral appliance therapy patients, side-effects are a non-issue. This is why 90% of the time they use their appliances on a nightly basis.
  • The reason OAT side effects resolve is because it is not really the appliance that is causing the side effects, it is the patient’s reaction to the appliance.
  • After the first couple of weeks wearing the appliance, patients stop fighting it and establish new patterns of behaviour to adapt. If the appliance has been placed properly, all side effects resolve once the patient’s response changes.
  • If the appliance is out of balance, or if the clinician moves the mandible forward too quickly and outside of the patient’s adaptive capacity, there will be discomfort that will require recalibration of the device.
  • Long term there may be some tooth movement and changes to habitual posture, but these should be considered in the context of the health benefits of the effective management of sleep apnea.
  • There is no literature to suggest that wearing oral appliances results in long term temporomandibular dysfunction.

We hope you find the conversation useful. We welcome your thoughts, questions and/or suggestions about this post and other topics. Leave a comment in the box below or send us your feedback by email.

Until next time!
CDA Oasis Team

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