If you’re unhappy with CPAP for your sleep apnea, you may be looking at oral appliance therapy as an alternative. But if you are, there’s a key fact you need to know: a new study shows that only custom oral appliances can actually treat your sleep apnea.
Trying Both Types
In order to determine that ready-made oral appliances are not as effective as custom appliances for sleep apnea, researchers designed a crossover trial. In this type of study, patients tried both types of oral appliance. They were randomly assigned to one or the other type of appliance, which they used for three months. Then they took two weeks without treatment before trying the other type of appliance. A total of 25 patients tried both appliances for the full duration of the trial.
The results showed a clear advantage for the custom-made oral appliances. Custom-made appliances were 96% effective at achieving a measurable level of response. But only 64% of patients saw any response from ready-made appliances. And while custom-made appliances got complete relief for 64% of patients, only 24% of patients got complete relief from ready-made appliances. In addition, people were more likely to use their custom-made appliance every night. And they used it for more hours every night.
And when it came to the key measure–improved quality of life–only custom-made oral appliances made a significant difference.
Why Waste Money on Ineffective Treatments?
Many people are tempted to try ready-made oral appliances because they may be easier to find (being offered by their doctor or dentist) as well as being cheaper. But a cheaper sleep apnea treatment is only a bargain if it’s actually effective. If not, you’ll still pay the additional costs related to sleep apnea, which could double your annual medical costs.
If you have only a 64% chance of getting any response, and a 24% chance of getting complete relief, and essentially a 0% chance of getting an actual improvement in your quality of life, how can a ready-made appliance be considered a reasonable treatment option for sleep apnea?
A similar argument can be made against CPAP. Although CPAP has been proven to be an effective sleep apnea treatment, it’s only effective if you actually use it. Unfortunately, many people who are prescribed CPAP don’t actually use it. As a result, they effectively have untreated sleep apnea.
Effective Custom Oral Appliances
A truly effective sleep apnea treatment is one that works and that you will use. For many people, the only treatment that really fits the bill is a custom oral appliance. If you are trying to find the most effective sleep apnea treatment for you, it’s important to talk to a sleep dentist about your options and determine which is right for you.