Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Oral Appliance Therapy - Benefits & Side Effects

For mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy offers many of the same health benefits as CPAP.  By treating your sleep apnea, you can reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes. You will also improve your daytime alertness, concentration and emotional stability.

The additional benefits of oral appliance therapy include:

Ease of use - Some patients prefer oral appliances because they can be easy to wear. For most patients it takes a few weeks to get used to sleeping with an oral appliance in your mouth.

Small and easy to transport – Traveling with your sleep apnea treatment is easy with an oral appliance therapy. Unlike CPAP, oral appliances are small enough to fit in your purse or carry-on bag.

Possible side effects

Oral appliance therapy may cause frequent but minor side effects. These include:

  • Excessive salivation
  • Dry mouth
  • Tooth and jaw discomfort
  • Temporary bite changes

Some patients experience potential complications such as:

  • Jaw pain
  • Permanent changes to your bite
  • TMJ symptoms

These complications can be recognized and managed by dentists who have expertise in dental sleep medicine.  First a diagnosis of primary snoring or obstructive sleep apnea must be made by a board-certified sleep physician. Then the physician can refer you to a dentist who can provide treatment with oral appliance therapy.

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