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Do oral appliances work for sleep apnea?

Yes! Several studies have shown oral appliances to be an effective method of treatment for the symptoms of sleep apnea, especially snoring and interrupted breathing. In order for them to be fully effective, you must follow the instructions of Dr. Shapira and use them every night. Combined with behavioral therapy, oral appliances can help you overcome sleep apnea and finally get enough sleep.

What are the advantages of using an oral appliance?

There are many different options for sleep apnea treatment, but for many patients, oral appliances offer the ideal solution. Depending on the morphology of your jaw, throat, and nasal passages, as well as the particular symptoms of your sleep apnea, an oral appliance may target the snoring, the interrupted breathing, or both. An effective oral appliance will lead to an improvement in the quality and duration of sleep, a reduction in the volume and persistence of snoring, and possibly eliminate apneic events. Oral appliances are more portable, smaller, and easier to use than CPAP treatment. Because of this, they often prove more effective, since a significant number of CPAP users do not get full relief because of the difficulty in using the CPAP device.

Are oral appliances awkward or difficult to wear?

Your oral appliance will be custom-fitted to minimize discomfort. There will probably be a short period of adjustment during which your body will adapt to the sensation of having the oral appliance in. The oral appliance is more comfortable than CPAP for many users. If the appliance is noticeably uncomfortable, Dr Shapira can adjust it to increase your level of satisfaction.

What are the side effects of wearing an oral appliance?

The side effects of oral appliances are generally mild, requiring only a short period of adjustment. There are many different oral appliances, each with different effects, but in general the most common side effects are mouth dryness, excessive salivation, tooth or jaw joint soreness, nausea, tooth damage, repositioning of teeth or jaw (sometimes beneficially). Ideal adjustment of the appliance can minimize side effects, and any obtrusive side effects should be mentioned to Dr. Shapira so adjustments can be made, especially negative bite changes. Most of the problems are mild, and, when combined with behavioral therapy go away on their own.

Will wearing an oral appliance put stress on my jaw joint?

Many studies have been conducted as to the effects of oral appliances. A small number of patients may experience some jaw or tooth stress, but readjustments typically alleviate these. Research has shown that some minor changes in tooth and jaw position occurs over time, but these are generally minor and few patients give up their appliances as a result of the changes.

Is sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances expensive?

At the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Center, we aim to make the right treatment affordable for patients who need it. If you need a treatment to avoid the dangers of sleep apnea, the last thing you should be worrying about is cost. Oral appliance therapy is comparable to other forms of sleep apnea treatment, and many insurance plans cover part of the cost. We have a financial coordinator available to discuss costs, payment options, and insurance coverage. If necessary, we have affordable payment plans, and, since many of the effects of sleep apnea accumulate with time, getting treatment today is much less expensive than waiting for treatment later.

What maintenance should I perform on my oral appliance?

You will need to clean your appliance each morning by brushing it with a toothbrush and using a special cleaning agent. (And don’t forget to practice good oral care while using your appliance.) You should examine the hardware to make sure it has not suffered any damage. Also, you should come in to see Dr. Shapira for any adjustments or maintenance necessary.

How long will my oral appliance last?

Many oral appliances last for years, if well maintained. They are constructed to withstand normal wear and tear, made of durable plastics and high-quality metals. If you suffer from bruxism (tooth grinding), this may shorten the life span of your appliance. In many cases, Dr. Shapira can also repair or reinforce your appliance if it suffers damage.

Sleep apnea is defined as the cessation of breathing during sleep for at least 10 seconds, and at least 5 times in an hour.
But there is help out there!

If you have questions not answered here, contact the Snoring and Sleep Apnea Center in Gurnee, Illinois for a free initial sleep apnea consultation in which you can bring up your questions in person.

Call us today at 1-8-NO-PAP-MASK