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What is a Custom Dental Device?

Custom Dental Devices

by San Antonio, TX sleep expert Dr. Richard Drake

Video Transcript

Hi, I’m Dr. Richard Drake with Dr. Drake’s Sleep Solutions. I want to talk to you today about dental devices for sleep apnea and snoring. What is a custom dental device as compared to an over-the-counter dental device? So you can go to some of these sites online and the TV commercials, and you can buy them. And the over-the-counter ones are kind of a one size fits none, you know? They’re boil and bite. And the hardest thing is just to get them to stay in. They’re big and bulky. Now, contrast that with one that’s made to fit you and nobody else in the world.

When you come in here, we take scans of you. We use a 3D scanner. We take very cool scans. It’s just like taking pictures. And from that, we print models of your teeth with a 3D printer. These are my teeth that have been printed with a printer. And from that, we make the custom dental device. So there are different types. Some of them– this particular one is called a Dorsal. It has a little wing on it that looks like a dorsal wing. And when you put that thing in there, we’re moving your jaw forward like that. This one is called a Herbst, or H-E-R-B-S-T. So we’ll try to get some pictures in there so you can see this a little bit better. But those are the up and down, forward and back adjustments that we used to make. This one is called a tap, or a T-A-P. It hooks together like that. You put a little keyway in there, and you adjust it.

What the dental devices are doing is number one, they’re not letting your jaw fall down and back. So it’s that [SNORES] that’s bad for you, you know? You start snoring, your airway starts to close down, all those bad things that happen from sleep apnea. Instead, we’re moving your jaw forward. When we move your jaw forward, we move the base of your tongue and part of your palate off the back of your throat. We make your airway bigger back here.

So a custom dental device is a very good option for mild to moderate sleep apnea. If you were diagnosed with severe sleep apnea, most of the doctors want you to at least try CPAP first– a mask that blows air down your throat, that kind of thing. Nobody can make you do any of this stuff, but we highly encourage you to. Because you’re going to be healthier and you’re going to live longer.

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