Are there other options beyond the traditional CPAP machine?
Today I’m excited to introduce you to the most common non-CPAP treatment for obstructive sleep apnea: oral appliance therapy, or OAT for short. Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a custom-fitted mouthpiece that advances the lower jaw and tongue forward to keep the airway open during sleep. Its key feature is that the degree of movement can be titrated - meaning it can be adjusted to more or less protrusion of your lower jaw.
Advantages of oral appliance therapy include its portability, it’s ease of use, and of course, there is no mask. The disadvantages include the potential for jaw soreness and teeth movement, along with overall reduced effectiveness when compared to nightly CPAP use.
The best candidates for oral appliance therapy include people with mild or moderate sleep apnea, those who are not obese - meaning normal weight or mildly overweight, and those whose sleep apnea is worse when sleeping on their backs.
In order to be fitted for an oral appliance, you need to see a sleep dentist. These are dentists with specialized training and experience in sleep apnea. There is a wide range of prices for the appliances - but they usually run between $2,000 and $3,000 US dollars + plus visits with the dentist for adjustments. Fortunately, if your sleep study shows that you have sleep apnea, most medical insurance do cover some or all of the costs.
If you do choose oral appliance therapy to treat your sleep apnea, and if you have anything more than mild sleep apnea, it is important that you repeat your sleep study with the device to be sure it is effectively treating your apnea.
If you’d like to get more information on oral appliances and hear about other non-CPAP treatment options for OSA, join me for a FREE sleep workshop titled Non-CPAP Treatments for Sleep Apnea on May 9th at 4:30 PT / 7:30 ET, where I will discuss several non-CPAP treatments for sleep apnea, including oral appliance therapy, positional therapy, and surgical options, including Inspire. I’ll also answer any questions you may have in a Live Q&A over Zoom. Sign up HERE