Oral appliances are another great and non-intrusive way to help eliminate sleep apnea. They give you the freedom to sleep how you want, and they're custom made to give you a comfortable and snug fit.
In this article we'll break down what oral appliances are and how they work. We'll also review some of the best oral appliances available on the market today, and I'll provide answers to frequently asked questions regarding oral appliances and oral appliance therapy.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy: How It Works
Oral appliances are only worn while you sleep and they can alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea and improve your overall quality of sleep. They pull the lower jaw forward in a position that opens the upper airways. This eliminates snoring and can improve your breathing while your sleep.
Oral appliances are a good alternative to CPAP machines and can complement sleep apnea devices that keep you from lying on your back.
This video shows how oral appliances work to help with your sleep apnea.
This video also addresses frequently asked questions about oral appliance therapy.
Types of oral appliances for sleep apnea
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD): Keeps your upper airway open by moving your lower jaw forward.
Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD): Holds your tongue in place while you sleep, so the base of your tongue doesn’t block your upper airway.
How to wear an oral appliance for sleep apnea
Oral appliances are only worn while you sleep and they fit like a retainer, or a sports mouth guard.
Best Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea
Best Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea (Overall)
The SomnoDent is a custom-fitted oral appliance that’s designed to eliminate snoring and OSA. This device serves as a comfortable and highly effective alternative to CPAP machines and corrective surgery.
When you wear it, the SomnoDent oral appliance pulls your lower jaw forward, and this allows the tissues in the back of your throat to relax and prevents your tongue from collapsing and blocking your airways. In doing this, you’ll sleep safely, and oxygen will flow freely, eliminating snoring and providing a peaceful night's rest.
The SomnoDent Mouthpiece is the best choice if you want a device that’s customized for your mouth. A lot of brands claim that their mouthpieces auto-molds to their customer’s teeth, but nothing is guaranteed.
The SomnoDent is customized to fit the shape of your teeth, so you won’t have to worry about it being uncomfortable or not fitting correctly. Also, if corrective surgery has been recommended by your doctor, the SomnoDent can serve as a safe alternative if you don’t want to have surgery.
While the SomnoDent is one of the best sleep apnea oral appliances available on the market, it’s really expensive. It also requires several trips to the doctor, and it takes a while for the SomnoDent to be ready for use.
Best Oral Appliance for Mild Sleep Apnea
The Tranquillam Sleep Aid Mouthpiece is a custom molded device that conforms to your teeth in an easy 1-step process. You simply place the mouthpiece in warm water to make the plastic moldable, then pop the device in and feel it comfortably mold to the shape of your teeth. It’s a multi-purpose device that’s used to eliminate snoring, reduce teeth grinding, and it can also be used as a bite guard if you play sports.
If you’re looking for an affordable and comfortable way to eliminate your snoring, then the Tranquillam Sleep Aid Mouthpiece is the device for you. It’s also a great choice if you have a habit of teeth grinding while you sleep.
The Tranquillam is designed to alleviate the pain of TMJ and repositions the jaw to allow the oxygen to flow freely. You’ll sleep soundly and comfortably and wake up free of pain and fatigue. If you choose this product, make sure to place the mouthpiece in warm water before you put it in your mouth. This loosens up the plastic and makes it easier for the mouthpiece to conform to your teeth.
Give yourself at least one week to get used to wearing the Tranquillam Sleep Aid.
Best Oral Appliance for Severe Sleep Apnea
The Tranquility Pro 2 is a multi-use device that uses Measurement Reading and Self Molding Flex-Gel to position the lower jaw in the proper placement to eliminate snoring and reduce teeth grinding. After boiling the mouthpiece for a few minutes, it automolds to the shape of your teeth and provides comfort and relief from long, sleepless nights.
The Tranquility Pro 2 provides an affordable and quick way to eliminate severe snoring. Its high-quality features make it a great alternative for overpriced mouthpieces that require constant trips to the doctor. After boiling the Tranquility Pro 2 in water, it will easily conform to the shape of your teeth without pain or discomfort.
Keep in mind that this device should NOT be used by people with central sleep apnea.
Also, the Tranquility Pro 2 is a pretty big mouthpiece, and it may prevent you from closing your mouth all the way when you sleep.
Best FDA-approved Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance
The PureSleep Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece is the first of its kind and became FDA-approved in 2019. Its dual polymer design makes it suitable for all shapes and sizes, and it’s clinically proven to safely and comfortably repositioning the mandibular. It gently pulls the lower jaw forward to open the airways and eliminates the vibration that causes snoring.
The PureSleep Anti-snoring Mouthpiece is perfect if you’re looking for a certified alternative for expensive mouthpieces. In 2019, this device became FDA-approved for over-the-counter sales. Now you don’t have to make annoying trips to the doctor, or cycle through cheaply made mouthpieces that don’t fit correctly.
This anti-snoring mouthpiece eliminates snoring and will also improve your quality of breathing by re-positioning your lower jaw to free your throat from any obstructions.
Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea: FAQs
The average cost for a sleep apnea oral appliance ranges from $1800 to $2000. This cost covers the device, doctor’s visits, follow-up visits, etc. However, there are cheaper alternatives, like the products mentioned above, that don’t require a trip to the doctor.
The side effects of wearing an oral appliance for sleep apnea may include:
- Saliva build-up
- Damage to the jaw and teeth
- Dry mouth
A study was done in 2013 to measure the long-term effectiveness that oral appliances could have on sleep apnea as an alternative to CPAP machines. The study was done on 103 random patients who suffered from mild to severe OSA. Out of these patients, only 62 of them responded to a 2-year follow-up. The results of the follow-up concluded that oral appliances serve as a superior alternative to CPAP machines, except for people who are morbidly obese.
More research needs to be done on the long-term effects that oral appliances have on sleep apnea versus CPAP machines.
Medicare will cover the cost of oral appliances for sleep apnea if specific criteria are met. Here’s a list of things that may qualify you for Medicare coverage. Make an appointment with your doctor to see if your coverage will cover the cost of an oral appliance.
Oral appliances for sleep apnea are categorized as medical equipment, and they’re eligible for reimbursement under the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) category.
Insurance will cover the cost of an oral appliance for sleep apnea if the proper criteria are met. It depends on your specific coverage and needs. Talk with your doctor to see what coverage options are available for you.
It can take anywhere from a few months to two years for your jaw to realign after using an oral appliance. It all depends on your mouth and how long you were using the device. Talking with your doctor may give you a better estimate on how long it will take for your jaw to realign.
Most oral appliances are very easy to use and will comfortably fit in your mouth right away. However, it may take time to get used to the feeling of having a device in your mouth.On average, it takes about two weeks to get used to having an oral appliance.
Some people experience results right away. For others, it takes about two weeks to notice any changes in your sleep apnea. It’s all dependent on how severe your sleep apnea is and the type of oral appliance you’re using.
A Prosthodontist works closely with the dental lab to make oral appliances and false teeth for cosmetic reasons and cases of traumatic reconstruction.
Oral appliances are custom made and fitted by your doctor. They’re customized by using digital, or physical, models of your teeth. These models are then sent to a dental lab where it’s made.
Oral appliances for sleep apnea should be replaced every 2 years. However, every appliance is different. If you purchase a mouthpiece without seeing a doctor, refer to the product instructions to learn how long the device lasts.
Most oral appliances should fit comfortably without slipping and sliding. Your doctor will be able to tell you how your device should feel and can adjust your mouthpiece as needed.