Frequently Asked Questions
How does an oral appliance work?
Oral appliances are worn in the mouth during sleep to prevent soft tissues and the base of the tongue from collapsing and obstructing the airway, which would otherwise cause you to stop breathing.
Why should I consider oral appliance therapy versus CPAP?
Doctors recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) as the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment. However, approximately 50 percent of patients do not use the treatment on a regular basis because they can’t tolerate the pressure produced by CPAP. To increase compliance and effectiveness of CPAP, some doctors are combining CPAP treatment with oral appliance therapy. Others elect to use oral appliance therapy alone.
What are the advantages of using oral appliance therapy?
- Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find that it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimated to wearing the appliance.
- Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
- Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive
What are the practice parameter guidelines for oral appliance therapy?
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine published practice parameter guidelines stating that oral appliances are indicated for use in patients with mild to moderate OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea); who prefer them to CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) therapy; or who did not respond to, are not appropriate candidates for, or who fail treatment attempts with CPAP.
Indications for Oral Appliances:
- Primary Snoring
- Mild to Moderate Sleep Apnea
- CPAP Intolerant
- Surgical Failures
- Substitutive Therapy
Will my insurance cover oral appliance therapy?
Since oral appliance therapy is considered medical treatment, it will only be covered by medical insurance. Most major insurers cover oral device therapy.
Ultimately, it is the patient’s responsibility to pay for the service. However, we offer complimentary medical billing for our patients and work with you to maximize your medical benefits.
Are all dentists sufficiently trained to provide treatment?
Per the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, oral appliances should be fitted by qualified dental personnel who are trained and experienced in the overall care of oral health, the temporomandibular joint, dental occlusion and associated oral structures. While many dentists are versed in these areas, not all dentists have invested the necessary time and dedication to the study of dental sleep medicine. While evaluating potential providers, it would be wise to consider and inquire about his training and duration of training. A single day or weekend course is certainly not as comprehensive as someone who has completed a structured and formal hands-on training via fellowship or residency. There are approximately only five institutions that offer such programs. Additionally, you should consider whether the dentist has limited his practice to only treating snoring and sleep apnea as opposed to one who is squeezing you between filling appointments and dental exams. This provider may also not be aware of the challenges of medical billing since it is completely different than dental billing.
I don’t have Sleep Apnea, I just Snore loudly.
A Sleep Study must be performed in order to determine whether you have Sleep Apnea. Sleep tests may be administered in a sleep center or a Home Sleep test may be issued to you. If the results determine that you do not have Sleep Apnea, then an oral device is the ideal treatment to help you stop Snoring.
I had a sleep test a long time ago, and it showed I have Apnea but I didn’t do anything about it. Can I do something now?
Absolutely! It is more than likely that the Sleep Apnea is still present, especially if you still have the typical symptoms of fatigue and morning grogginess. Snoring and Sleep Apnea usually gets worse with age and weight gain.
I have been told I have Sleep Apnea but I am not tired at all! And though my wife says I snore, I don’t believe it.
If you have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea and don’t feel tired, then that means your body is compensating for the lack of sleep and lack of air by working extra hard to give you the oxygen you need. Because of the increased load on the body, Sleep Apnea is considered the silent killer as it is associated with many serious disorders such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and many others.