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What is an oral appliance?

An oral appliance is a thin, custom-made device worn over the upper and lower teeth during sleep. They’ve been described as similar to an athletic mouthguard or orthodontic retainer. Although they may not be right for everyone, an oral appliance that has been fitted and adjusted properly can greatly reduce or eliminate snoring and sleep apnea.

How does an oral appliance work?

Obstructive sleep apnea is the result of soft tissues, such as the tongue or throat tissues, blocking the airway. The oral appliance acts as a splint that keeps the airway free from obstruction. It holds the jaw and tongue forward and dilates the back of the throat thereby opening the airway so patients can breathe normally throughout the night.

My bed partner snores – will this help me sleep better?

The bed partner of someone who snores loudly suffers from sleep deprivation and disrupted sleep, just like the person who has sleep apnea. You can improve your own health and well-being by helping your partner seek diagnosis and treatment.

What is the best treatment for snoring?

There is no “one size fits all” cure for everyone. This is why we work with your sleep physician to determine the best solution for you. Oral appliances are generally considered the most effective treatment, since over half of all patients are CPAP intolerant. Surgery, while effective for some, has a high risk of side effects that include post-operative pain and occasional regurgitation of food through the nose. Oral appliances are a non-invasive method of managing obstructive sleep apnea.

Are oral appliances effective?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances and they have been proven effective in most cases. Florida Dental Sleep Medicine has treated hundreds of cases over the past several years and has data showing effective treatment in over 95% of cases.

What if I am missing teeth, or have bridgework or a denture?

Oral appliances are custom designed and very successful for a variety of patients. Even patients missing all of their upper teeth can use the appliance, as long as they have an upper denture and at least 6 teeth in the lower jaw. An assessment of your oral health, including teeth, gums and jaw will ensure predictable, successful results with minimal long-term complications.

Is one oral appliance better than another?

Numerous types of oral appliances currently exist. Some claim “one size fits all” and are not adjustable and have not been studied for effectiveness. These are typically purchased over the internet or at a retail store. These appliances can prove difficult to wear and can cause long-term jaw and muscle pain.

Professionally made sleep appliances will deliver effective, comfortable results because they are custom made from a model of your teeth in a special lab. No single appliance is ideal for every patient so Dr. Mogell will consider several factors, such as size and position of the teeth and jaw, when designing your sleep appliance. Some medical insurance, including Medicare, will cover only certain types of appliances.

What are the risks of not treating sleep apnea?

Are oral appliances comfortable?

Most people find that the appliances are surprisingly comfortable. This is because we custom design the appliance to be in harmony with your bite and jaw joints. After a short adjustment period, the appliance should begin to feel natural and comfortable.

How much will it cost?

The initial consultation includes a thorough assessment of your medical history and sleep study. This initial consultation typically does not involve any out-of-pocket costs for the patient. Dr. Mogell will also examine your jaw joints, teeth, and gums, to determine whether you are a candidate for an oral appliance. If you are a candidate, impressions will be taken so that your sleep appliance can be crafted as quickly as possible. The cost of the different appliances varies and we will discuss your medical insurance coverage and costs in detail prior to beginning the appliance process.

Will my insurance cover this treatment?

Most of the time, medical insurance will cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea using an oral appliance. Insurance plans vary greatly, so we can’t give you a definitive answer unless you call the office and speak with our treatment coordinator. We will contact your insurance company to help answer your concerns. Please note that treatment is considered a medical procedure and will not be covered by dental insurance. Certain types of appliances are not covered by some insurance companies and this will be discussed prior to treatment. At this time we are a provider for Medicare and Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield. We are working toward becoming network providers for other plans.

How long does the appliance last?

Given proper care your appliance can last for years. However, oral appliances require adjustments over time. If your appliance needs to be repaired or replaced, this can usually be done at a reduced fee.

I hate my CPAP – is this the right treatment for me?

CPAP is still considered the most effective sleep apnea treatment and cessation will only be considered in consultation with your sleep physician. Whether an oral appliance will work for you depends on several factors. Some people use an oral appliance in conjunction with their CPAP or while they travel. Switching to an oral appliance requires a consultation with Dr. Mogell and your physician.

How will I know my treatment is working?

Are there side effects to this treatment?

Most people experience no side effects from oral appliance therapy. A small number of patients experience increased saliva production, muscle tenderness and bite changes. Most side effects are temporary and will disappear after a few adjustments to your appliance and adherence to patient protocols.

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