How Oral Appliance Therapy Works
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airway collapses at night during sleep. This is due to many reasons. Gravity pulls the airway closed when you lie down, and your muscles relax, letting it collapse. Often, the airway narrows at first, creating a turbulent airflow that others might hear as snoring. This is a warning sign before your airway collapses entirely, cutting off your air.
The challenge of keeping your airway open at night is that there is really only one bony support, your jaw, and it’s often out of position. Oral appliance therapy works by repositioning your jaw, moving it forward so it does its job of keeping the airway open.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is a great alternative to CPAP treatment for many people with obstructive sleep apnea. That’s because oral appliances are:
- Easy to use
- Easy for travel
- Low maintenance
- Covered by insurance
Studies show that oral appliance therapy is as effective as CPAP. That’s largely because people are much more likely to use their oral appliance. Nearly 100% of people meet the standard of usage for CPAP when they’re using their oral appliance, and about five out of six use their oral appliance all night every night.
People use their oral appliances more because it’s easy to use them. You just put it in your mouth before going to bed. It’s comfortable: there are no straps, masks, hoses, or nose plugs.
It’s easy to travel with an oral appliance: it fits in your pocket. There are no wires, hoses, or accessories to carry. You can even use it if you’re doing backcountry camping because it doesn’t take power. Maintenance is easy, too. Usually, all they need is a soak in a recommended cleaner.
Best of all, for many people, oral appliance therapy is covered by insurance. Insurance companies know oral appliances are effective at helping you stay healthy, so they will pay for it. Many people don’t even need to try CPAP first to get approved for an oral appliance.
Is an Oral Appliance Right for You?
So how do you know if oral appliance therapy is right for you? First, do you have obstructive sleep apnea? Oral appliances only treat obstructive sleep apnea. Second, is your sleep apnea classified as mild or moderate? Oral appliances are only recommended as frontline treatments for mild to moderate sleep apnea.
If you have severe sleep apnea, your insurance company will likely recommend that you try CPAP first. You should give it an honest try and do your best to make it work. However, if it doesn’t work for you, then you should be able to get your insurance company to take the CPAP machine back and cover the cost of an oral appliance.
Get Oral Appliance Therapy in Torrance
Are you looking for a comfortable, convenient, and effective way to treat your sleep apnea in Torrance, CA? Let sleep dentist Dr. Webber fit you with a custom oral appliance. Please call (310) 534-3477 today for an appointment at Simply Smiles Dental Care.