Do Oral Appliances For Obstructive Sleep Apnea Work?

Medical devices such as SomnoMed oral appliances are utilized for treating mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). They can be prescribed both as a first-line treatment option for OSA, or for patients who can’t – or won’t – tolerate CPAP therapy. For those not as familiar with Oral Appliance Therapy as an effective treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you might ask: does Oral Appliance Therapy for treating sleep apnea really work? Read on to find out.



How Oral Appliances Work To Treat Sleep Apnea

Perhaps the most well-known treatment method for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is CPAP therapy, where constant and steady air pressure is provided to patients to help them breathe while asleep. Although this treatment method is highly effective, it doesn’t work for everyone. 

For patients who are exploring primary mild to moderate OSA treatment options, and/or for those patients who have a hard time tolerating or adhering to CPAP therapy, they may find Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) to be their preferred treatment choice.

About Oral Appliances

Oral appliances are also known as Mandibular Advancement Devices, or MADs. These medical devices are prescribed by a physician and custom fabricated by qualified sleep dentists, who collaborate closely with the physician and the patient to ensure effective treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Oral appliances are designed to help move the jaw and tongue forward and away from the back of the throat, helping to increase the size of the upper airway and therefore reduce any restrictions that occur there and result in Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). 

It’s important to note that oral appliances like SomnoMed’s are FDA-cleared medical devices intended to treat the medical condition of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). As such, they are usually covered under most medical insurance plans, including Medicare.  

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)

Custom oral appliances, such as SomnoMed’s, are molded for a precise fit to a patient’s teeth, both upper and lower. The appliance on the upper teeth serves as a fixed frame against which the lower jaw can be moved forward. The best oral appliances are those that allow for the jaw to advance incrementally until there is an ideal balance between the back of the tongue and the soft tissues of the throat, keeping a person’s airway open while they sleep and effectively treating sleep apnea.
Oral appliances are usually made of molded plastic, while some have metal hinges and screws that can be rotated to push the lower jaw forward. Ideally, they should simply and comfortably snap into place over the upper and lower teeth. Made to be inserted before falling asleep, a patient can remove their device in the morning after awakening. 
The best oral appliances are also designed with comfort in mind, easy to wear and even allow for sipping liquid while in use. Good oral appliances also encourage nasal breathing with the mouth closed while sleeping, because nasal breathing is proven to be a healthier way of breathing. Most importantly, an effective oral appliance (one that actually treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea) is one that’s so comfortable, it will be worn all night.  Many studies have shown that custom oral appliances are as effective as CPAP simply because they “work” all night, while CPAP is often only tolerated for a smaller portion of sleep time. In other words, Effectiveness = Efficacy x Compliance.  At SomnoMed, we call that the Effectiveness Equation. 

An image of a CPAP mask is shown with an equal sign and a question mark when compared to a SomnoDent® Avant. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is proven to be equally as effective as CPAP, as per SomnoMed’s Effectiveness Equation.

About SomnoMed Devices

Easy to wear devices, like our SomnoDent® Avant, is our most comfortable appliance ever. The upper and lower splints are shaped utilizing computerized aided design and
manufacturing software (CAD/CAM) methods to precisely fit the shape of each patient’s teeth. Tests have shown that this method creates appliances that are stronger, more comfortable, and more durable. 


Likewise, our Medicare approved SomnoDent® Herbst Advance Elite is a Herbst style appliance also milled from one piece of dental material. This design offers greater resistance to the bending and flexing forces that occur when a patient opens and closes their mouth – meaning the device is less likely to break.


The innovative designs and advanced, CAD/CAM manufacturing methods of the SomnoDent® Avant and SomnoDent® Herbst Advance Elite gently close a patient’s mouth, so they breathe through their nose while sleeping. This eliminates snoring in most people, as well as prevents dry mouth, which is a common complaint with other oral appliances (and CPAP).
Finally, the comfort of our SomnoDent® appliances is due to our proprietary b-flex soft liner. The b-flex Comfort Liner cradles patients’ teeth, gently keeping the oral appliance on the teeth during sleep. If it’s more comfortable, patients are more likely to wear it, and therefore effectively treat their mild to moderate OSA.

Oral Appliance Therapy For Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

For adults with mild to moderate OSA, CPAP therapy is effective, but some patients may reap greater benefits using SomnoDent® appliances. In a real world setting, SomnoDent® oral devices are often more likely to be utilized; since they’re comfortable, portable, quiet, and also effective, they often fit better into a patient’s lifestyle – and are better adhered to. 
If you and/or your patients suffer from mild to moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), an oral appliance like a SomnoMed device is designed to be an effective, more comfortable, and durable treatment option.
Contact us and we’ll help you and/or your patients get started on the journey to effective treatment for mild to moderate OSA with a SomnoMed device!

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