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An area of health we take for granted, until we start noticing a lack thereof.

A proper nights rest consists of having a quiet, cool and comfortable place where we should be able to fall asleep within minutes and awake feeling rested, refreshed and ready to take on the day.

When sleep quality is affected, this can cause a fair amount of worry and distress if not correctly dealt with. If sleep issues arise, we have a series of steps to assess if there is in fact a sleep hygiene concern or a more serious sleep apnea or sleep disordered breathing concern.

Is there a sleep concern due to an airway issue?

This can be addressed with an examination to check structures of the head, neck, posture, arches of the mouth, back of the throat, tonsils, adenoids, tongue posture and presence and grade of tongue ties.

If further investigation is suggested by a dentist, medical doctor or ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) they may refer for a sleep study and possibly a CBCT scan for more conclusive data.

What are the recommendations for sleep apnea?

When results come back, a sleep physician will review the data and give the diagnosis of mild/moderate/severe sleep apnea. The standard of care for moderate/severe sleep apnea is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure machine) or OAT (oral appliance therapy).  An oral appliance is made by a dentist who has additional training to fabricate these devices and are NOT in the same classification as night guards.

We work in conjunction with sleep physicians who diagnose and prescribe sleep appliances for our patients. This is becoming the standard of care and no sleep appliance should be placed other than by a specially trained dentist.

The key with these devices is that the position of the jaw must be in a position that does not stretch or create tension on the muscles of the jaw, neck and throat. Often these devices fail due to increasing tension in these muscles that can compromise the airway and make the condition worse, thus the unpredictable nature of the results in the past.

The position of the jaw is key, not the plastic or specific device that holds it there.

Scroll down to see a video explaining the process.

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Sleep & NM Dentistry

The Position of the Jaw is Key, Not the Plastic or Specific Device That Holds it There

Another feature of a sleep device is that it should minimize impingement on the tongue. Sleep apnea and snoring is caused by the tongue and soft tissues falling back during sleep and obstructing the airway. (See link for a more comprehensive discussion:

The MicroO2 appliance at the PRP (physiologic rest position) of the jaw, determined by objective measurement, to treat these disorders, is completed by a dentist who has had neuromuscular training and uses specific instrumentation to assess this.

For more information on Neuromuscular Dentistry and to see the technology used to measure this position, please see the Neuromuscular Dentistry tab on the drop down menu for a video explaining this process.

To find a trained neuromuscular dentist in your area, please visit,

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