Common Patient Questions About Oral Appliance Therapy

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What are some questions your patients may have when considering COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)® with a SomnoDent oral device?

Dr. Jagdeep Bijwadia, SomnoMed’s Chief Medical Officer and a practicing Pulmonologist in Minneapolis, takes a few minutes to discuss the concerns many patients have as well as some potential side effects many providers receive as patients explore oral appliance the for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) due to CPAP intolerance or preference.

One of the most common questions you may come across is: ‘Does it work at all?’

For many sleep physicians, COAT is a fairly new treatment that most patients may have never heard of. However, the answer is yes – studies have proven Continuous Open Airway Therapy with a SomnoDent oral device to be effective. In fact, more than 15 independent clinical studies have demonstrated Somnodent efficacy and compliance.

Recent evidence increasingly supports health outcomes with oral devices being equivalent to CPAP in a wide range of conditions. In patients with mild to moderate OSA, improvements in sleepiness, quality of life and blood pressure are similar. You can view recent clinical evidence of health outcomes with CPAP and oral appliance therapy HERE.

Another common question is about comfort. Is a SomnoDent oral device a comfortable treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Again, studies have revealed that it is comfortable for OSA patients. In fact, many patients prefer COAT to CPAP therapy and use it for longer hours each night. For most patients, this means feeling better throughout the day, as well as improved health outcomes in the long run.

Most patients easily adapt to wearing a SomnoDent oral device at night. After wearing the device for a short period of time it will become part of their routine.

Compliance rates for dental sleep therapy are much higher than for other forms of non-surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In other words, patients are much more likely to use a SomnoDent oral device successfully than any other form of treatment. A recent survey of our patients indicated that 90% of SomnoDent patients regularly use their device.

What are the steps to be prescribed for COAT with a SomnoDent oral device?

Physicians typically assist their patients throughout the steps for successful treatment and OSA management. Discussing the treatment options upon diagnosis of OSA with CPAP or COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)® are the main options.

Dr. Bijwadia discusses the need to talk to patients about the process for prescribing oral appliance therapy with a SomnoDent oral device. This step is turned over to a trained SomnoDent dentist who can assist the patient not only in getting the right device for them, but also in the titration – or adjustment – of the device resulting in optimal comfort and treatment outcomes for the patient.

Read: Healthy Outcomes Patient Treatment Pathway for Oral Device Therapy

What are the side effects?

COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)® has proven to be a very appealing solution for many patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but it’s important that physicians and dentists are discussing the possible side effects with their patients.

As with any medical treatment, there are possible complications or side effects to dental sleep therapy. Considering the well-documented health risks of leaving obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) untreated, most of the side effects or using COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)®  are considered minor.  However, most patients side effects will subside after the first week or two. The three primary side effects are tooth discomfort, TMJ (jaw joint) or muscular discomfort, and tooth movement or bite changes. Although other minor complications are possible, like salivation changes and dry lips.

Why SomnoMed?

For patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) — the comfort and quality of their device is paramount to them receiving full clinical benefit. Since 2004, SomnoMed has manufactured devices meeting the highest level quality and service standards. As a professional partner, SomnoMed has helped practitioners recognize the important characteristics of a high quality oral device when prescribing COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy)®.

For more information about SomnoMed, contact us.


As Chief Medical Officer of SomnoMed North America, Dr. Bijwadia is charged with helping to define strategy for the medical initiative, build clinical research educational programs and create collaborative bridges between physicians and dentists. In addition to his leadership of SomnoMed, Dr. Bijwadia has an active private clinical practice in Saint Paul MN.   He previously served as Attending Physician at HealthPartners Medical Group (HPMG), where he was the Department Head and Director of the Sleep Medicine Center before stepping down to take the CMO role at SomnoMed. He holds a faculty position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Pulmonary Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the University of Minnesota where he served as Director of the Sleep Program until 2012.

Dr. Bijwadia earned his medical degree and did his internship and residency at Mumbai University. He then moved to the United States, where he completed his internship and residency at Nassau University Medical Centre at the State University of New York, where he was named Chief Resident of Internal Medicine in 1991. Dr. Bijwadia completed a Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Medicine at the University of Southern California. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Diseases, and Sleep Medicine. He completed the Executive Course at the Physician Leadership College at St. Thomas University, Opus College of Business in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2011 and Health Insurance Executive Certification at the American Health Insurance Plans and Kellogg School of Business. He also completed the Executive MBA Program at St. Thomas University Opus College of Business.

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