Have sleep apnea? If you’re CPAP intolerant, an oral sleep appliance could help.


If you’re someone who was recently diagnosed with a sleeping disorder or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) you’re likely starting to do the research on types of treatments available. The two most common are CPAP machines and oral sleep apnea appliances, which are sometimes referred to as mandibular advancement devices. 

Although both CPAPs and oral sleep appliances can be used to treat sleep apnea, there are risks and benefits to each. Our Suffolk County sleep dentistry team wants prospective sleep apnea patients to understand what’s involved with treatment, so that they can make better choices related to their care. 


CPAP Benefits 

For years, CPAP appliances have been the proven go-to solution for people with obstructive sleep apnea. CPAPs can be administered by physicians and pulmonologists, unlike oral sleep appliances (which can only be made by licensed dentists like the ones at Sachem Dental Group.) 

Unlike an oral sleep appliance, CPAP machines are mostly a one-size-fits-all, so there’s not a lot of time needed to customize and adjust the equipment. You can start using it right away and get the prescription filled by any medical supply company. 


CPAP Risks and Disadvantages 

CPAP machines are, obviously, quite large and cumbersome. There’s no way to use one discreetly, as the entire piece of equipment works by fitting over your face and around the back or top of your head. 

The size and bulkiness of a CPAP appliance can interfere with the way you sleep at night. If you’re someone who is usually a side sleeper or likes to sleep on your stomach, it won’t be an option anymore. Learning to sleep on your back is a must in order for your CPAP equipment to work properly. 

Although newer types of CPAP machines are starting to be quieter than previous models, some versions are still quite noisy. The sounds they make can be so loud that it interferes with your sleep and that of the person sharing your room. Unfortunately, some people find that they have to sleep in another bedroom when they snore or have sleep apnea. A noisy CPAP machine can add to the troubles of bothering your family’s sleep. 

A CPAP machine has numerous pieces, including hoses and a nose piece. Each of these must be cleaned properly so as not to harbor bacteria. Otherwise, you can raise your risk of respiratory illnesses like pneumonia. 

Finally, having to rely on a CPAP machine can be embarrassing and interfere with your personal life. If you’re used to traveling with friends, toting a CPAP along with you can be quite the ordeal, not to mention the fact that you’ll probably want to get your own hotel room. Traveling with a CPAP through an airport can be just as challenging because of the extra space it takes up and the added security screenings. 

Which leads us to…


Long Island Oral Sleep Appliance Benefits

If you’re someone who can’t wear or is looking for an alternative to a CPAP machine, then an oral sleep appliance may be your best solution. Each sleep mouthpiece is made to individually fit your unique smile, based on a set of impressions that we take in our Long Island dentist office. When your sleep appliance is made from custom models, it provides the best and most accurate fit possible. 

Compared to a CPAP machine, oral sleep appliances are much more discreet. They’re similar to mouthpieces like a sports guard, so they completely fit inside of your mouth to where no one else has to see them. Their small size makes traveling easy, as they fit into a small storage container just like an orthodontic retainer. Sharing a hotel room or going on a girls’ trip is fine, because nobody else has to see or hear your sleep equipment. 

When you wear an oral sleep appliance, it allows you to sleep in your favorite position, be it on your back, side, or stomach. Or maybe you prefer to change positions frequently throughout the night. Since there aren’t any hoses or wires, you can!

Your sleep guard won’t bother the person you share a bed with, and may be the key to helping you sleep in the same room at night. If a noisy CPAP is a serious concern, then our Long Island oral sleep appliances are probably the best alternative!

The smaller size and simpler design of snoring guards and dental sleep appliances also mean they’re easier to clean. You’ll care for and maintain them similar to an orthodontic retainer or denture. Just soak it in an approved cleanser to remove buildup and gently brush them once per day. 


Disadvantages and Risks of Oral Sleep Appliances

People who choose to wear an oral sleep appliance may need a bit of practice getting used to their mouthpiece, just like they would a CPAP. Since dental sleep appliances move your lower jaw forwards, they do replicate an abnormal position for your mouth. Because of that situation, some people may start to exhibit a bit of soreness in the morning when they wake up. But with more wear, follow-up adjustments, and becoming used to your sleep aid, this should diminish.

Also, mandibular advancement techniques can, on occasion, also cause changes in your bite’s alignment. Just like braces, an oral sleep appliance puts pressure on specific teeth. Ultimately, this could lead to them moving after extended wear. Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent this from happening! We can create what’s called a “deprogrammer” and it works similar to an orthodontic retainer. 

When you wear your deprogrammer the next morning, it helps to guide and re-train your teeth to stay where they’re supposed to. When you use it regularly, you can prevent risk of orthodontic relapse or unwanted tooth movement. 


Is a Snore or Sleep Mouthpiece Right for You?

At Sachem Dental Group, our multi-specialty team consists of Long Island sleep dentists with experience in treating snoring and sleep apnea. If you’ve never had a sleep study or are CPAP intolerant, we’ll be happy to guide you through the next steps. 

Your oral sleep appliance may even be covered by your medical insurance! Contact our Suffolk County sleep dentistry team to schedule a consultation for more information.