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FAQs

Common Questions

About Sleep Apnea

Snoring frequently accompanies sleep apnea but it is not always an indicator of whether this sleep condition is present. However, snoring can indicate that bulky throat tissue could potentially obstruct airways – especially if patients have certain lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep apnea. Fortunately, the treatment we offer for sleep apnea and snoring is the same. By prescribing a custom oral appliance, the diameter of the airway can be widened to prevent the sounds of snoring as well as episodes of apnea. These oral appliances are soft and comfortable to wear. They work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward so that the airway is no longer obstructed.

The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different for each person. Anyone can develop it, regardless of age or gender. The most common risk factors include:

  • Being over age 40
  • Having a large neck (over 17 inches in men, 16 inches for women)
  • Being overweight – approximately half of OSA sufferers are overweight
  • Being male – more men than women suffer from OSA
  • Having a large tongue or small jaw
  • Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (particularly in children)
  • Using alcohol or sedatives which relax the muscles in the airway
  • Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum or sinus and allergy problems

While CPAP is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people cannot tolerate the discomfort of  the mask and the inconvenience and noise of the machine. Therefore a high percentage of users have difficulty or will not wear them.  

An oral appliance is a popular alternative to the CPAP. This device is small, portable, fits more comfortably and can provide similar treatment benefits.

You will have a follow-up sleep study while using your oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device. A consultation with the sleep medicine physician will be necessary to interpret the results.

If coverage is available for oral appliances, it will come from your medical insurance carrier. Most dental insurance companies do not cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.  

Our patients tell us it is well worth the investment of their time and money to treat their sleep apnea because of the improved quality of life they experience.

We offer financing options and will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs.

The majority of patients will adapt to the appliance within 5-10 days. It will take a few days to get used to having a device in your mouth while you sleep. The appliance will not hurt your teeth. If your teeth are sore after initial use, we can easily adjust it for your comfort.

They are made of hard acrylic, which is very durable. They are typically replaced every 3-5 years depending on wear and tear. If you grind your teeth, you may have a more frequent rate of repair or replacement.

A change in your bite is possible. Depending on the position of your teeth and the status of your bone, your teeth may shift. This can be minimized with the use of a morning re-positioning device.

The most common side effect is morning muscle soreness that usually goes away after a short time. Some patients may experience either dry mouth or excessive salivation. As mentioned above, minor tooth movement occurs in some patients.

Obstructive sleep apnea is unlikely to decrease with age; therefore your oral appliance will probably be a lifelong therapy. However, certain wellness factors such as significant weight loss may improve your symptoms.