Adjusting to Your Oral Appliance: 4 Helpful Tips

May 1, 2024
Oral appliance for sleep apnea featured against white background

You may rightly feel excited and hopeful when you first receive your oral appliance for obstructive sleep apnea. After all, this treatment could improve your health and your daily quality of life. But what if you find that it is difficult to adjust to wearing your appliance? This blog post discusses why that may happen and provides a few tips to help you get used to your treatment.

Why Might You Experience Some Discomfort?

A custom oral appliance is configured for your unique mouth, so you might assume that it should be comfortable right from the beginning. However, that is not always the case.

Remember, oral appliances are usually made of hard plastic, which your body will recognize as a foreign object. As a result, you might drool quite a bit more than you usually do. There is also the possibility that a strong gag reflex can make it difficult for you to place your appliance in your mouth. Some people even unintentionally reject their appliance while they are sleeping!

How Can You Adjust to Your Oral Appliance?

Most patients find that eventually, their oral appliance becomes easy to use and greatly enhances the quality of their sleep. In the meantime, you may need to apply these tips to help you get through the adjustment process:

  • Wear it consistently. If you only wear your appliance once in a while, your body will continue to react to your device as if it is a foreign object. Consistent wear will allow it to feel more familiar.
  • Practice during the day. For a while, you might find it helpful to wear your appliance while you are awake, perhaps when you are doing some quiet reading or watching TV. This can help your body get used to how it feels.
  • Breathe through your nose. Intentionally breathing through your nose while wearing your appliance may calm your gag reflex.
  • Be patient. If you do not take to your oral appliance right away, do not become unduly stressed. Within a 2 – 3 weeks, many patients find that they are fully adapted to their new sleep routine.

What If You Still Struggle to Adjust?

If more than three weeks have passed, and you are still struggling to use your oral appliance, talk to the sleep dentist who provided it. They may be able to make slight adjustments to your appliance to make it a bit more comfortable. In some cases, a different type of oral appliance may be recommended.

An oral sleep appliance could change your life for the better! Apply the tips in this article to get used to your device so you can benefit fully from it.

Meet the Practice

For well over a decade now, Dr. Kenneth Mogell has focused on helping people find freedom from obstructive sleep apnea via custom oral appliances. He offers multiple types of appliances, and he is always interested in learning how well his patients are adapting to their treatment. If you have questions about this form of sleep apnea therapy and what to expect from it, he and our team would be happy to speak with you. Reach out to any of our three locations or call our Boca Raton office at 561-353-5252.