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Dental appliances for sleep apnea: Do they work?

April 28, 2021

About the Author

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Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She … See Full Bio
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April 30, 2021

CPAP is not the most effective treatment for OSA. It may be the most efficacious in terms of lowering AHI, but many studies demonstrate that the poor adherence associated with CPAP undermines the overall effectiveness of the treatment. CPAP is not the most effective. The AASM guidelines reflect this understanding, based on a careful analysis of the available scientific data, by indicating that Oral Appliances are non-inferior to CPAP for the treatment of mild and moderate OSA. Moreover, CPAP is significantly more expensive than Oral Appliances once one considered the ongoing expenses of consumables.

April 30, 2021

As being diagnosed with moderate OSA-I did get fitted with a FDA approved mandibular advancement thorough a dentist certified to do so.
Pro was that it def helped sleep for 4-5 hours a night. I could tell through the fewer number of restless periods (via sleep number bed). Also I was a lot less tight.

Downside was that I would spit out device 4-5 hours somewhere in the night and find it in the covers next morning. Besides being gross, always worried that dogs would use it as a chew toy. And it is expensive.

Fortunately lost 25 lbs and OSA is largely abated so I no longer need it -but stored away just in case.

Bob Wall
April 28, 2021

Ran a sleep disorders center for a number of years and the only truly effective treatment for severe sleep apnea is nasal CPAP. I know it is uncomfortable and makes a person feel and look like someone from another planet but I have seen it work for hundreds of people from truck drivers to MD’s.

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