Do Commercially Available Appliances Work for Sleep Apnea?

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Commercially marketed appliances cost approximately $60.00; but do they work for sleep apnea? Snoring is an indication of sleep apnea caused by an obstruction (usually from soft tissue), which is disorder that threatens human life, and has been shown to increase the risks of strokes and heart attacks by 600 percent. An eight year research study demonstrated a 36 percent reduction in 8 year survival rate in individuals who have sleep apnea that has not been treated. . The Gold standard for sleep apnea therapy is a  continuous positive air pressure (i.e., CPAP). It prevents airway closure during sleep.  The negative aspects of a CPAP, is that it is not worn by 50-66% of the individuals that should be using them regularly. In 2006, research acknowledged that oral appliances may be the initial therapy for sleep apnea that is either mild or moderate, and can be a viable substitute sleep apnea that is severe in individuals that could not put up with CPAP. If given the choice, the oral appliance is preferred to the CPAP.

An appliance advertised on T.V. has been approved by the FDA for simple snoring, but not for sleep apnea. Patients have been using this oral appliance as a substitute for their CPAP, without first seeking medical advice from their sleep physicians.

These oral appliances can negatively affect a patient’s health, along eith endangering the general public. It has been found that people who stop snoring may have silent sleep apnea. Besides the increased risk of stroke and heart attacks (by 600 %), these individuals have a 600 percent greater chance of having a motor vehicle accident. Their reaction time is slower than drunk drivers, thus posing a danger behind the wheel. Individuals with sleep apnea should be seen by specially trained physicians. Also, if a dentist makes a sleep appliance for a patient, they should be trained in treating TMJ problems, and work in conjunction with a sleep physician.

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