How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treated?
The "Gold Standard" treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), worn while sleeping. There are a number of different types of masks that are used to direct pressurized air into your nose. You will have an opportunity to choose a mask that fits you best and is the most comfortable for you. The masks and CPAP machines are most often provided by a sleep laboratory or a durable medical equipment supplier. Your physician will discuss this with you.
What about dental splints for obstructive sleep apnea?
There are times when a dental splint can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). If you are diagnosed with mild or moderate OSA, a dental splint is often the first recommendation. If you are diagnosed with severe OSA, and find that you're unable to use a CPAP machine, it is possible that you could be helped with dental splint therapy.
If you are unable to use a CPAP machine, and would like your medical insurance to cover dental splint therapy, you will be asked to complete a form to certify that you are unable to use a CPAP machine.
If you do not have medical insurance, you can choose whatever you would like for treatment. However, a CPAP machine is usually the best treatment for severe OSA.
Are there any advantages to dental splints for OSA?
Yes. There are no masks to wear, and no tube connected to a machine. You cant turn in bed unhampered by the hose attaching the mask to the machine. The splint fits over your teeth like a mouthguard. The splint is more easily taken with you on trips, and does not involve extra luggage when you're going by plane.
We can't fail to mention that a dental splint is better for you than either snoring or wearing a CPAP when you are with a new bed partner. There are three views of a sample Wartell Appliance for OSA to the right.
Are there any disadvanatges to dental splints for OSA?
Yes. First of all, it may not be as effective for you as a CPAP. Second, it may cause some changes in your jaw joint and bite. However, research articles have shown that even with the disadvantages of a dental splint, most people prefer to use a dental splint for OSA rather than a CPAP.
No dental splint lasts forever. The forces in your mouth can eventually break or wear out anything that a dentist makes. The Wartell Splint, made in our office, is guaranteed to function in your mouth for two years. It may last longer. The laboratories that make other dental sleep splints offer various lengths of guarantees. None are less than one year.
The choice is yours. If you decide to try a dental splint, we will help you by making the most effective and comfortable splint that will suit your needs.