Oral appliances are compact, simple to use, and do not involve any additional bedside equipment that requires regular maintenance or replacement. Most sleep apnea patients find OAT to be a more comfortable and convenient therapy than a CPAP machine and mask. Oral appliances are also excellent for those who travel, as they pack small and require no electricity.
Studies show that compliance with OAT and wearer satisfaction with oral appliances is significantly higher that with CPAP.
- Oral appliances resemble sports mouth guards, and usually fit over both top and bottom teeth
- Oral Appliances are made from soft yet durable materials designed to ensure wearer comfort
- The most common type, the Mandibular Advancement Device or MAD holds the lower jaw slightly forward during sleep
- Another style retains the tongue to prevent it from falling backwards
- Oral appliances can help prevent tooth damage caused by grinding during sleep (bruxism)
The majority of patients are able to fall asleep easily while wearing an oral appliance, and after an initial adjustment period of just a few weeks, often find they do not want to sleep without the appliance. Because the airway is now open, the body responds quickly and experiences deeper, more refreshing sleep. If a patient forgets the appliance, or chooses not to wear it, they quickly return to previous patterns of poor sleep. A patient’s bed partner can see the difference in restlessness and snoring without the appliance, and often encourages the patient to continue using the appliance.