Herbst Appliance for Sleep Apnea

People who suffer with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or continuous snoring can benefit from the use of a Herbst dental sleep appliance. Today’s medical advancements in dental appliances have made it convenient and comfortable to treat sleep disorders without the routine requirement to be connected to a CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) machine. As with any sleep disorder, potential users of a sleep Herbst oral appliance need to have a sleep-study diagnosis to confirm the need for OSA or snoring therapy.

What is a Herbst Dental Sleep Appliance?

The Herbst oral appliance is available in either a standard or advanced telescopic version. It is a small, one piece, dental device that is removable and convenient for use at home and while traveling. The appliance is worn over the upper and lower teeth while sleeping, which positions the patient’s jaw forward. This repositioning improves the flow of air to the lungs, assisting in the treatment of both Sleep Apnea and snoring.

The standard oral appliance is adjustable in routine increments of 1mm, while the advanced telescopic oral appliance is adjustable in microscopic increments of 1/4mm.

Material Options for the Herbst Appliance

Patients have the choice of three different materials for their Herbst Appliance: hard acrylic, soft acrylic, and soft thermal active.

  • Soft Acrylic is most comfortable but needs to be replaced more often than other materials. Soft Acrylic is not recommended for patients who grind their teeth while sleeping.
  • Hard Acrylic is easy to wear, durable, and is recommended for patients with a natural set of teeth.
  • Soft Thermal Material is convenient to wear and is recommended for patients who have a cosmetic dental apparatus or missing teeth.

Maintaining and Caring for A Herbst Oral Appliance

When not in use, store the dried Herbst dental sleep appliance in the container provided by the dentist.

There are two methods for daily cleaning:

  1. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste, and only cool water; DO NOT use any alcohol-containing mouthwash.
  2. Soak the device in an alcohol and persulfate free, non-toxic denture cleanser; DO NOT use effervescent cleansers.

A softened thermal device is easier to insert if held under warm water for several seconds. Rinse the mouth with warm water for a few seconds for easy removal of the appliance. Always have the dentist make necessary adjustments.

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