Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

One of the treatments for obstructive sleep apnea can be performed in our office. Dr. Schell and Dr. Noble have helped hundreds of patients breathe easier at night by fitting them with an oral appliance.

sleep-apnea-device-upper-valley-nh-schellnoble-dentistryAn oral appliance is a small, custom fabricated device that fits in your mouth to create more space and prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat. This helps to keep the airway open by repositioning and stabilizing the tongue and lower jaw. The mandibular advancement device is adjusted (titrated) over several weeks to obtain the correct setting for each individual patient to maximize air flow and create uninterrupted sleep.

Oral appliance therapy is most often used when:

• Patients have mild to moderate OSA

• Patients with moderate to severe OSA are unable or unwilling to tolerate CPAP therapy

• CPAP therapy alone does not alleviate the OSA symptoms; combination therapy is the use of an oral device and CPAP at the same time

For more detailed information regarding oral appliance therapy, please see below:

  • What is an Oral Appliance?

    oral-appliance-for-sleep-apnea-schellnoble-dentistryAn oral appliance is a small, custom fabricated device that fits in your mouth to create more space and prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissue in the back of the throat. This helps to keep the airway open by repositioning and stabilizing the tongue and lower jaw. The mandibular advancement device is adjusted (titrated) over several weeks to obtain the correct setting for each individual patient to maximize air flow and create uninterrupted sleep.

    Will Oral Appliance Therapy Work for Me?

    Oral appliance therapy is effective 60% to 80% of the time depending upon the severity of the obstructive sleep apnea. It is very important that you discuss all options with your sleep physician and/or primary care physician to determine the best treatment for you. We work in conjunction with your physicians and general dentist throughout your oral appliance therapy.

    Oral appliance therapy is most often used when:

    • Patients have mild to moderate OSA
    • Patients with moderate to severe OSA are unable or unwilling to tolerate CPAP therapy
    • CPAP therapy alone does not alleviate the OSA symptoms; combination therapy is the use of an  oral device and CPAP at the same time

    After titration of your oral appliance is complete and you are feeling the benefits of this therapy, an overnight sleep study is required to determine the clinical effectiveness of this treatment.

    What are the Side Effects of Oral Appliance Therapy?

    It does take time to adjust to having the appliance in your mouth each night. Most patients acclimatize to the device in five to ten days. Some patients do experience dry mouth, excessive salivation, or joint soreness during this period. Each patient also receives a positioner to wear each morning after removing the oral appliance. In some people Oral Appliance therapy can cause some changes in your bite; these are usually minor but may continue over time.  We encourage regular visits to watch for these changes and catch them early if they occur. This device reduces the chances of changes in your bite.

    Does my Insurance Cover Oral Appliance Therapy?

    Most medical insurance plans cover oral appliance therapy when treatment is considered medically necessary. Reimbursement is also subject to your plans specific provisions such as deductibles, in and out of network benefits, copayments, and yearly maximums. Our staff will work with you to determine your benefits and make financial arrangements prior to treatment.