The following is a list of frequently asked questions. If you are unable to find answers to any additional questions, please feel free to CONTACT US anytime and we will be happy to answer them for you.
It is an adjustable device which fits completely or partially within the mouth and holds the jaw and tongue in a position which allows easier breathing when you sleep.
There are currently over 180 FDA approved appliances. Most are copies of each other, so there only a few different designs. They all do the same thing, bring your jaw forward during sleep to open your airway.
When an oral appliance is properly positioned, studies show 66-70% of patients will return to normal breathing (AHI<5). However, greater than 80% of the time, patients can experience a significant resolution of symptoms and at least a 50% decrease in the number of sleep disordered breathing events during sleep.
Studies that compare different custom made devices showed that all devices tested were statistically equal in effectiveness, but patients have preferences based on design and comfort.
Our job is to help guide the patient to selecting an appliance that fits their lifestyle and their anatomy.
The general lifespan of an oral appliance is 2-5 years. If you grind your teeth, you may shorten the lifespan of your appliance.
Initially we look for a reported reduction in symptoms. After approximately three months of using the appliance, we will request your physician order a follow-up sleep study to determine the effectiveness of your treatment.
Very much like you do your teeth! You need to brush the appliance thoroughly, both inside and out each morning. The best cleaning agent we have found is DentaSoak. It is available from Great Lakes Orthodontics Limited at 1-800-828-7626.
Original fabrication of the device usually takes 2 visits (the scan at your consultation visit and a second visit to fit the appliance). After you go home with the appliance we will want to see you once a month for the next three months. During these visits we will help you adjust the appliance to an effective position. Adjustments will be based on your feedback of symptom resolution. These visits are covered under the initial fee of the appliance. You will then be seen once every six months for the next year. Thereafter, you will be scheduled for yearly follow up visits. These follow up visits are billed separately from fabrication fee and may not be covered by your medical insurance. Please check with our team to discuss your specific medical insurance coverage.
Most medical insurance companies will cover oral appliance therapy. Patients must meet the criteria of their individual insurers. Sleep Apnea Dentists of New England are experts at helping our clients understand their insurance coverage requirements.
Oral appliance therapy is a dental solution to a medical problem. Oral appliances that treat obstructive sleep apnea are considered medical devices because sleep apnea is a medical condition that can only be diagnosed by a physician. Therefore, only medical insurers will pay for the cost. However, an oral appliance can only be made by a dentist, which presents a problem because most dentists are not allowed to be in-network providers with your medical insurer.