2 Questions You May Have About Using An Oral Appliance For Your Sleep Apnea

After finding out that you have sleep apnea, you may have been looking into various treatment options that may be available to you. Along with breathing machines that you use at night that work with pressure to force air into your lungs to stop the pauses in your breathing, you may have also heard about oral appliances.

Oral sleep appliances fit into your mouth much like a retainer, and it helps to keep the passageway open. If your doctor or dentist has suggested a sleep apnea oral appliance as part of your treatment plan, you may have questions, a couple of which are answered below.

1.  Will You Be Unable to or Have Trouble Wearing It If You Have Missing Teeth?

One question you may have about using an oral appliance as part of your sleep apnea therapy is whether or not you can use it if you have missing teeth or have had extensive dental work. You may worry that the appliance may not fit properly enough to work if you can even get one at all.

Fortunately, these appliances are custom-fitted by a dentist to conform to the unique shape of your mouth. During the fitting, they will take into account any dental issues you may have.

2.  Will You Be Able to Stop Using Your CPAP or BiPAP Machine at Night?

Another question you may have is whether the appliance will replace your BiPAP or CPAP machine that you use at night. Typically, if your doctor has decided that you need the machine, you should continue to use it even with the apparatus unless they say otherwise.

When used along with the breathing apparatus, the appliance allows for more unobstructed airflow. This means that you may be able to reduce the pressure settings on the machine. However, do not adjust any of your prescribed settings without first talking to both your doctor and the dentist who prescribed the appliance.

When you have sleep apnea, being fitted for and using an oral appliance can help to open up your upper passageways to allow you to breathe easier, and it often works in conjunction with your nighttime breathing apparatus. Even if you have missing teeth or dental work, the appliance can be custom fitted so that you can still benefit from using it. If you are interested in learning more, speak with a dentist in your area that offers sleep apnea oral appliance therapy.