Times are changing, and while the CPAP was once the primary treatment for sleep apnea, the use of oral appliances as treatment is on the rise. Nowadays, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine considers oral appliances to be the first and foremost method of treatment for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, and for those who cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. An oral appliance is a small, custom-built, and easy to clean mouthpiece that fits comfortably into the patient’s mouth to open up their airways.
Oral appliances work by pushing the lower jaw and base of the tongue forward and away from the back of the throat. Oral appliance therapy has been shown to be highly effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea cases, with success rates as high as 90%. With oral appliance therapy, it is as easy as putting in a custom mouthpiece before going to sleep, resulting in you feeling refreshed upon waking.
The patients who have used the CPAP therapy and Oral Appliance therapy agree that it is easier to fall asleep when using the retainer-like devices. The awkwardness and restricted movement is no longer the issue it was with the CPAP, therefore making settling in at bedtime a more comfortable experience.Oral appliances are custom-fitted dental devices designed to treat snoring and OSA by opening the throat airway and preventing the tongue from blocking the airway during sleep. Oral appliances work by manipulating the lower jaw slightly forward and lifting the base of the tongue forward and away from the back of the throat. This prevents airway blockages and also prevents oral snoring by reducing the vibrations of the soft palate and uvula.
After an initial adjustment period of just a few weeks, many patients will find that they do not want to sleep without it. Now with the comparison of breathing with an open airway, the body responds quickly and adjusts itself to experience a deep, more refreshing quality of sleep. The good news is that most insurance companies will cover the cost of Oral Appliance Therapy including the cost for the replacement of worn out retainers.
The bad news is that these Oral Appliances don’t last forever, and will mostly likely need to be used night after night, for the rest of the patient’s lifetime. However, when it comes right down to it, most patients would say that such a small sacrifice is negligible when a healthy, good night’s sleep is at stake.