Oral Appliance Therapy

Comfortable, easy-to-use treatment for mild to moderate Sleep Apnea recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

What is Oral Appliance Therapy?

In Oral Appliance Therapy, an appliance, similar to a mouth guard is placed in the mouth at nighttime. The appliance keeps the airway open by preventing the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat.

With an appliance in place, a sleep apnea sufferer can get an adequate intake of air for a normal night’s sleep.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends dental devices for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea who are not appropriate candidates for CPAP therapy (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure):

“For patients with mild to moderate OSA who prefer OAs [oral appliances] to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), and in all cases for those who do not respond to CPAP, are not appropriate candidates for CPAP, or who fail treatment attempts with CPAP or treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep position change.”

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Alternative to CPAP therapy

CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, uses a machine that supplies a continuous stream of air via a face mask to keep the airway open and prevent its collapse and subsequent pause (apnea) in breathing.

Many people are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy, or find it hard to comply to. Studies have shown that most people don’t use it on a regular basis and even more successful users only average 4-5 hours per night and not the full night as recommended.

For this reason, Oral Appliance therapy has become a first line of therapy, along with CPAP, for mild to moderate sleep apnea sufferers. For severe sleep apnea sufferers, CPAP should always be tried first and Oral Appliance Therapy only used for if a patient is intolerant to CPAP.

How effective is Oral Appliance Therapy?

Studies show compliance rates for Oral Appliance Therapy from 77% to 95% and very high effectiveness in non-severe sufferers of sleep apnea and moderate effectiveness in severe sufferers of sleep apnea.

One of the appliances Dr. John uses is The Moses® Oral Appliance (the blue appliance in the photo) which enlarges the airway while at the same time allowing patients to talk, drink and open their mouths, making the device very comfortable.

Another device Dr. John uses is the EMA® (Elastic Mandibular Advancement), also very comfortable.

How does Oral Appliance Therapy work?

An oral appliance is very similar to a mouth guard such as worn in sports or for teeth grinding. Dr. John uses various appliances, prescribing the one that most fits the patient and his or her severity of symptoms.

Most oral appliances work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward and slightly down, which keeps the airway open. You can test it yourself by making a snoring sound and moving your jaw forward. You will see that sound stops. This is known as a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD).

Another type of device is a Tongue-Retaining Device (TRD), which is a mouth guard that holds the tongue in place to keep the airway as open as possible. This is used very rarely.

Both types of oral appliances increase the upper airway dimensions and  the soft tissues from collapsing.

Is Oral Appliance Therapy effective for Snoring?

Dr. John can fit you with an oral appliance to reduce snoring without further diagnosis.

However, snoring is a primary symptom of sleep apnea and we recommend that you take some tests to see if you have sleep apnea or not before getting an appliance. In this way, Dr. John can be sure that you are getting the right treatment for you.

A good first step is to take our Free Online Sleep Test.

Our Oral Appliance Therapy Procedure

Dr. John offers a Free Sleep Apnea Consultation

Dr. John offers a Free Sleep Apnea Consultation

Oral appliances can only be prescribed and fitted by dentists. Dentists are experts in oral healthcare and regularly make oral appliances for a variety of conditions, including TMJ problems, teeth grinding and sports wear.

Dr. John focuses on creating appliances of all kinds, giving him a great deal of experience in creating a custom appliance that will work well for you.

If you are diagnosed with Sleep Apnea
If you are already a diagnosed sleep apnea sufferer, you can come in for a Free Consultation with Dr. John and he’ll get you going on your Oral Appliance Therapy.

If you are not sure if you have Sleep Apnea
If you are not sure if you have sleep apnea, we need to determine if you have it, and if you do, its severity. The first step is to take our online Free Sleep Test.

If the test shows that you are likely to have sleep apnea, the next step is to come in to our office for a free consultation with Dr. John. Dentists can’t diagnose sleep apnea, although Dr. John performs free or inexpensive screening tests that can show if there is a likelihood of it.

He will interview you and do further tests as needed, including home testing if indicated. If you screen positively on sleep apnea, your next step is to get a definite diagnosis by visiting  a sleep center. This is all arranged by Dr. John.

Fitting you for your appliance
Once a diagnosis is made, Dr. John takes impressions and designs your custom oral appliance. It is fabricated and adjusted for maximum effectiveness and comfort. In periodic checkups, Dr. John ensures your appliance is fitting well and monitors your progress, as well as helping you with any situations you are encountering with wearing the appliance.

It is recommended that an oral appliance wearer visit a sleep center to study the affects of the appliance and to adjust its setting for optimum sleep apnea treatment. Dr. John arranges the entire visit and even stays the night at the sleep center to ensure that your appliance is adjusted to its exact right setting.

Oral Appliance Payment Options
We have many options to help you pay for your services:

  • We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express
  • Medicare
  • Medical insurance
  • We offer 0% financing and flexible payment options through Care Credit
  • We will submit all Medicare, medical insurance and Care Credit paperwork for you.
Call us at 205-267-5111 to make an appointment
or click here to request an appointment online.

Free Consultation with Dr. John

Dr. John showing a diagram of what is sleep apnea to Charles Phillips

You will get a chance to review oral appliances and how they work and Dr. John will answer any questions you have about Oral Appliance Therapy. He can arrange further testing for sleep apnea as needed.

To schedule a Free Consultation with Dr. John, call 205-267-5111
or click here to learn more.