Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance- Cost, Pros and Cons
A sleep apnea dental appliance, also known as a Jaw Advancing Device, is an alternative to CPAP for treating sleep apnea.
There are a few requirements that must be met if you wish to try out oral therapy to treat sleep apnea.
Using a sleep apnea dental appliance over CPAP has a few benefits, such as a higher compliance rate, greater sleep mobility, elimination of teeth grinding, and easier to travel with.
The sleep apnea dental appliance cost is around the ballpark of CPAP, though slightly cheaper on average.
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and have been looking for treatment options, you may have come across the sleep apnea dental appliance; also known as a Jaw Advancing Device (JAD) or Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD).
Sleep apnea dental appliances are very effective for sleep apnea patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, boasting around an 80% success rate per some sources. In cases where the patient has pretty severe sleep apnea, these devices may be used in conjunction with CPAP.
Out of all the different options for treating sleep apnea, using a jaw advancing device is the second most prescribed treatment, second only to CPAP. It offers more sleep mobility than CPAP and boasts a greater compliance rate as well.
Before we get too deep into the benefits of this type of sleep apnea treatment, let’s address a very important question:
How do I know if oral therapy will work for me?
As a general guide, if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, consult with your physician before attempting to purchase a sleep apnea oral appliance:
- Are you within the mild to severe obstructive sleep apnea range?
Sleep apnea oral appliances are generally not recommended for people in the mild to severe sleep apnea range. This is because the device may not advance the jaw enough to provide the lungs with the necessary air to prevent apnea.
However, that is not to say that an oral appliance will not be effective for you. There have been some cases where it has been implemented successfully and even worked better than CPAP by itself. Consult with your physician or a sleep center to evaluate your suitability for this treatment.
- Do you suffer from morbid obesity?
Those that suffer from morbid obesity may have smaller airways due to the excess fat around the area. This means that it may be harder for a sleep apnea dental appliance to advance the jaw enough to treat sleep apnea effectively. That being said, everyone’s body is different and it’s certainly possible that an oral appliance still works in these cases. Consult your physician or sleep center if this is the case.
- Do you suffer from very poor dental health?
A sleep apnea dental appliance will likely still treat sleep apnea for you. However, the stress from pushing back the jaw for 6-8 hours of sleep a night may cause damage to your teeth if they are in poor health.
What are the benefits of using a sleep apnea dental appliance?
- Very simple to use
Place it in your mouth before going to sleep at night and remove it in the morning. Just keep it clean and stored away after sleeping and the device will last between three and five years with proper use.
- Easier to use consistently
Consistent use is the main problem with CPAP treatment. This is because CPAP decreases mobility, and in most cases, comfort while sleeping. Sleep apnea dental appliances are widely considered more comfortable and easier to use regularly.
- Portable and easy to carry around on trips or vacations
Ideal for travelers and people who often sleep in different places.
- More discreet, less embarrassing
Feeling embarrassed is very common factor contributing to low consistent CPAP usage among sleep apnea patients. Oral appliances generally stay hidden from sight and are much more discreet.
- Stops teeth grinding (bruxism)
The design of the oral appliances prevents you from grinding your teeth at night in addition to its treatment of sleep apnea.
- Allows you the freedom to sleep in any position
Moving a lot while sleeping can produce leaks in the CPAP mask which will decrease how well your treatment works. The size and compactness of the dental appliance allows you to sleep in whatever position you wish.
- No dry or itchy face that is often the case with scrap machines
Because the sleep apnea dental appliance does not have contact with any part of your face except for your mouth, you don’t have to worry about waking up to an itchy face or bruising on your nose.
- Immediate results
The oral appliance increases sleep quality within just one night of usage.
What are side effects of using the sleep apnea dental appliance?
- Temporal Mandibular Disorder (TMD)
- Possible loosening of teeth
- Dry mouth
- Sore teeth or gums
How much do sleep apnea dental appliances cost?
On average, oral appliance therapy costs between $1800 and $2000 gross overall. This price includes the mouthpiece, fitting, adjustments, dentist visits, and post treatment follow ups. The price is around the range of CPAP, which currently costs between $1600 and $3000 on average.
Most insurance companies provide coverage for the oral appliance which means you may have to pay much less than the gross price out of pocket. Assuming your insurance covers at least half the cost, you should be prepared to pay around $1000 out of pocket for a sleep apnea dental appliance.
If you’re tired of waking up after eight hours of sleep and feeling like you’ve slept for less than five, using an oral appliance can help you feel refreshed and awake. Living life with sleep apnea under control greatly improves your energy levels, mood, concentration, and ultimately your quality of life. Better sleep equates with a better life overall. I hope this post takes you one step closer to that goal.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them below!