3 FAQ About Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances

Posted on: 15 January 2021

According to recent statistics, about 22 million people in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. This sleep disorder occurs when a person's breathing stops and restarts over and over again as they sleep. When breathing stops and restarts, it interrupts the sleep cycle, which causes the person to be very tired the next day. Besides daytime fatigue, other complications associated with untreated sleep apnea include high blood pressure, stroke, and heart problems. One treatment option to consider is a sleep apnea oral appliance.

If you would like to know more, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions about these appliances.

1. How Do Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances Work?

If your doctor has diagnosed you with sleep apnea, they can write you a prescription for a sleep apnea oral appliance. You then need to take the prescription to your dentist, who will create a custom-made sleep apnea oral appliance for you.

This oral appliance is similar to a retainer that one wears after braces are removed. The sleep apnea oral appliance is only worn at night while you sleep. The appliance helps to push the lower jaw forward, which prevents the tongue from blocking the upper airway. This allows you to breathe easier as you sleep.  

2. Are Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances Better Than CPAP Machines?

Some people with sleep apnea might choose to treat their disorder by wearing a CPAP machine. However, for many people, this type of treatment does not work very well as it requires them to wear a mask at night. The mask might be uncomfortable, plus it can make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Other cons of a CPAP machine include dry mouth, nasal congestion, and nosebleeds. For many, a sleep apnea oral appliance is a much better treatment option. This device is more comfortable than a CPAP machine, plus it is quiet, portable, and easy to care for. 

3. How Much Do Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances Cost?

On average, sleep apnea oral appliances cost anywhere from $1,800 to $2,000. While this may seem expensive, this amount is less than the cost for some CPAP machines and all of the CPAP supplies that need to be replaced regularly. The cost of an oral appliance is also less expensive than surgery.

To help reduce this cost, ask your insurance company if they will cover the sleep apnea oral appliance. Most insurance companies will cover the device as durable medical equipment. Before your insurance company covers the device, they will most likely require you to have a sleep study.