In my last post, I described 5 reasons why I like oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea. This is a continuation of my love/hate, pro/con blog posts about various sleep apnea tests and treatment options.
Here are my 5 reasons why I don’t like oral appliances:
1. It’s challenging to find a qualified dentist for every patient. For most people who live in metropolitan areas, there are lots of options. If you live in rural areas or if you have insurance that’s not common accepted (like medicaid plans) it’s much more challenging.
2. It can change your bite. This is an expected, and common side effect. If you work with a good dentist, this can be minimized or reversed. Some people don’t care, since they’re sleeping so much better.
3. It’s much more expensive than CPAP. If you don’t have insurance, it can cost a few thousand dollars, whereas CPAP is well below $1000.
4. It can be lost or damaged. Because it’s so small, it’s easier to lose. I’ve also had a handful of patients that told me that their dog chewed up their devices.
5. Although these devices will pull the tongue forward, it also takes up space within the mouth, leaving less room for the tongue.
For the most part, I find that mandibular advancement devices are helpful and in general, better liked by patients. This is in line with published studies.
In my next post, I’ll describe the 5 things you need to know before you see a dentist, to maximize the chances that an oral appliance will work for you.