The Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommends CPAP alternatives in the form of oral appliances as a front-line treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea. Dr. Hedgecock will almost always start with oral appliance therapy before moving on to more extensive treatment options, because he’s learned from his own family members who suffer from sleep apnea that oral appliances tend to be the most comfortable and user-friendly option. Additionally, those patients who are not tolerant to CPAP therapy often find that oral appliances cause fewer side effects while treating snoring problems. Oral appliances are small and convenient, making them easy to travel with, and many insurance plans cover oral appliances as a medical treatment for sleep apnea. In cases of severe obstructive sleep apnea, you may benefit from combination treatment, which utilizes an oral appliance in conjunction with CPAP.
Resmed Narval CC™
The Narval CC is a custom MRD made of semi-rigid, biocompatible materials. It’s thin, flexible, and unobtrusive. The Narval is constructed using CAD/CAM technology (computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing), which offers unrivaled precision and adjustability. Other benefits include:
- Minimal bulk in the mouth to ensure comfort and compliance
- Lack of contact with incisors (front four teeth), which deminshes dental sensitivity post-wear
- Lateral flexibility to eliminate the "locked-in" feeling and giving you the ability to talk and drink
The SomnoDent Flex is another comfortable and effective oral appliance. SomnoDent is composed of two separate pieces (one for the upper jaw and one for the lower), which are connected by a unique patented component that allows you to open and close your mouth naturally. You can talk and even drink water while you’re wearing it!
Like most MRDs, the TAP appliance has two arches that are custom-made to fit over your upper and lower teeth. These pieces snap together to hold the jaws together and shift the lower jaw forward. Although TAP allows for some lateral movement, it does not allow opening and closing as it "locks" the jaws in place. However, you can adjust the position of your jaw while the appliance is in your mouth.
The SUAD device is another oral appliance that gently holds your lower jaw in the forward position, relaxing the tissues in the back of your throat and opening your airway while you sleep. The SUAD is custom-made based on a mold of your teeth, so you’re guaranteed a comfortable fit. The SUAD is highly adjustable and doesn’t restrict your jaw movement, making it easier for you to drink, yawn, and speak clearly while you’re wearing it.