Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) for the Treatment of Sleep Apnea
While Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can only be diagnosed by a physician, a Custom-made Oral Appliance for the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can only be fitted by a dentist. An MD will write an Rx to the dentist ordering an Oral Appliance, as well as a Letter of Medical Necessity (LOMN) which medical insurance companies require for reimbursement.
Most mild cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can and should be treated with an Oral Appliance. According to the 2015 AASM Clinical Practice Guidelines published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, “Sleep physicians should consider prescription of Oral Appliances for patients with obstructive sleep apnea who are intolerant of CPAP therapy OR prefer alternative therapy – regardless of severity!”
Most patients prefer Oral Appliance Treatment for Sleep Apnea over CPAP treatment for Sleep Apnea. This results in a much higher compliancy rate with Oral Appliances over CPAP’s. Therefore, even though the efficacy rate for CPAP’s is higher than that of Oral Appliances in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, the overall Mean Disease Alleviation (MDA) is equal for the 2 modalities due to the much higher compliancy rate of Oral Appliance users. Most Oral Appliance patients wear their appliance 7 nights/week, all night long.
Oral Appliances for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) come in all shapes and sizes, but they all accomplish the same result. They all advance the mandible (lower jaw) in a measurable and adjustable amount, and by doing so, also advance the tongue base as well as brace the muscles of the throat to help support an open airway.
Thanks to the advances in design of Oral Appliances, and in the specialized training and certification of experienced Sleep Apnea dentists, many more patients are being properly treated for their life-shortening and quality-of-life robbing disability.