If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, there are a number of treatment options available. For mild to moderate cases, many specialists feel that a conservative treatment like Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is best.
But the question arises: Is OAT really effective?
Over the last decade, numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of oral appliances in helping to resolve excessive snoring and mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea.
For example, consider what the following medical journals had to say:
“In adults with predominately moderate to severe OSA, the short term (one month) use of an adjustable MAD was not inferior to CPAP.” —Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
“Oral appliance therapy should be considered as a viable treatment alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).” —Sleep by the Associated Professional Sleep Societies
“Important health outcomes were similar after 1 month of optimal MAD and CPAP treatment in patients with moderate-severe OSA.” —American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Researchers, scientists, and doctors agree: OAT is effective in treating various degrees of sleep apnea.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
One of the biggest benefits of oral appliances? Patients actually use them.
In contrast with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, which are cumbersome and uncomfortable for most patients, oral appliances fit conveniently in the mouth. Although this also takes time to get used to, many patients adjust quickly and get into a routine. If an appliance is custom fit to the patient’s mouth and jaw, they are generally considered comfortable and don’t move around.
Additionally, OAT provides the following benefits:
Convenience: Oral appliances are much smaller than even the most modern CPAP machine. No extra equipment, battery, or power source necessary. And other than cleaning and the occasional adjustment from your dentist, your oral appliance requires almost zero maintenance.
Durability: You can expect your oral appliance to last at least five years if you take good care of it, and in most cases much longer. In contrast, CPAP machines are extremely complex and may need parts replaced.
Bringing It All Together
In many circumstances, many experts and patients find Oral Appliance Therapy effective and even preferred to alternative forms of treatment. Of course, the final decision is up to you.