What Are Your Options?

dental (1)

Okay, you tried the whole CPAP thing, and much to your dismay you hated it. You could not get it work no matter what you tried – a different mask, a different pressure, chinstrap, etc. … Nothing worked. You speak to your physician and learn that there might be an alternative solution to your sleep apnea problem: a dental appliance.

Of course, you will need to have a sleep study done. Duh, how else are you going to get a CPAP machine covered through your insurance? Once you have successfully tried and failed at using your CPAP, your doctor can then recommend that you try a dental appliance to help treat your mild to moderate sleep apnea.

The first thing to do after deciding to use a dental appliance is actually make a choice of which you need. There are two main categories to choose from: Mandibular advancement devices (MAD’s) or Tongue Retaining Mouthpieces.

MAD with and without


MAD’s are similar to the mouth guards you see athletes wearing during game time or to orthodontic retainers. There are two pieces: one to fit over the upper teeth and the other to fit on the lower teeth. MAD’s are supposed to push the tongue and lower jaw forward just a bit to inhibit your throat muscles from failing back and preventing obstruction of the airway. The tongue retaining mouthpiece is pretty much structured the same way, but it also has a compartment to fits around the tongue itself preventing it from falling backwards and obstructing the airway.


Once you have chosen which device you want to get, the next thing to do is have your dentist make a custom fit oral device. This is the gross part – your dentist has to fill your mouth with this really disgusting paste like substance to get the imprint if your teeth for your device. Once they have the imprint, they are able to make either device specifically for you. There are over the counter options, which are less expensive, not to mention you avoid the whole nasty paste substance, but it is not advised that you go that route. You more than likely will end off worst than when you first stated on your CPAP machine.

While there are numerous good reports of the dental appliance working for the better – more comfortable than a CPAP mask, easier to travel with since there is less equipment involved, etc. – it is not 100% full proof. Sure, it is definitely an alternative resolution, but there have been many reports from patients saying that they experience some jaw pain, soreness, tension, sore teeth, and the loss of any dental work already done (crowns and bridges).

If this is something that you are interested in, please be sure to speak with your physician and take the necessary steps.

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