Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition that needs an effective treatment. Treatment is only effective if it will actually be used by you. Because of its ease, comfort, and convenience, oral appliance therapy is preferred by many patients, and can have a very high use rate, compared to other treatment options that may have lower successful use rates.
Although it has benefits, oral appliance therapy is not for everyone. To learn whether this treatment option is appropriate for your sleep apnea, please call 720-317-2700 or email Dr. Paul A. Hamersky and schedule an appointment at one of his office locations.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is a treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when the tissues of your throat fall in such a way that they collapse your airway, cutting off your breathing.
To prevent this, oral appliances help control the position of your soft tissue. They do this most commonly by repositioning your jaw, which provides much of the support for your soft tissue. Other times, though, they may use vacuum and other principles to help reposition your soft tissue. See Differences between sleep devices to understand how these different devices work.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy has many advantages that can make it a more popular and effective sleep apnea treatment.
Easy: Oral appliance therapy is the easiest sleep apnea treatment available. All you have to do is put your appliance in your mouth when you go to bed, unlike lifestyle modification that can be hard to implement and even harder to maintain.
Comfortable: Many people find CPAP to be an uncomfortable sleep apnea therapy. They complain about the smothering mask and its straps that can make it harder to fall asleep, cause skin irritation, and sometimes lead to feelings of being smothered, even though they are providing additional air.
Convenient: Oral appliance therapy requires just a mouthpiece, so you can take it with you wherever you go without trouble, unlike the CPAP machine and mask, which can be hard to pack and transport.
Limits of Oral Appliance Therapy
However, oral appliance therapy is not perfect. It does have a few limits.
OSA only: Oral appliance therapy can only be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, not central sleep apnea or hybrid sleep apnea.
Limited effectiveness: Oral appliance therapy can only provide a certain amount of benefit for sleep apnea sufferers. It is ideal for people with mild or moderate sleep apnea, but people with severe sleep apnea likely need CPAP or surgery.
Is Oral Appliance Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Yes. The science supporting oral appliance therapy has proven that it is an effective treatment option for many people. In response to the science, the government announced that Medicare would begin paying for oral appliance treatments. In response, many private insurance companies have also started paying for oral appliance therapy. We can help you determine if your insurance covers this treatment.
To learn more about oral appliance therapy, please contact Dr. Paul Hamersky for an appointment at his office in Lone Tree, Castle Rock, Aurora, or Stapleton. Please call 720-317-2700 today.