Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Sleep Apnea Patient Tells the Wall Street Journal How an Oral Appliance Restored His Health

Wall Street Journal reporter Kris Maher recently investigated how patients get treated for sleep apnea when they “balk” at the “bulky masks” involved in CPAP therapy.

CPAP device manufactures are working to improve CPAP compliance by making the designs more comfortable.

In the meantime, 25 to 50 percent of patients do not comply with or tolerate CPAP. So where do they go for treatment?

One option is the dentist’s office.

There are more than 1,800 dentists who treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. These devices work best for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Thirty-five year-old Dave Morton used to wake up from sleep choking. After taking a sleep test, he was diagnosed with sleep apnea and started using a CPAP mask.

"I was very stressed and couldn't sleep," Mr. Morton recalled. "I never woke up feeling refreshed."

After two years of on-and-off CPAP use, Mr. Morton switched to a dental appliance, which reduced his sleep apnea significantly.

"I'm happier and healthier," he said. "I can tell my brain is working better again."

Dental devices can have side effects such as jaw pain or tooth movement. However, compared to the risks of untreated sleep apnea, such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes, many patients accept the tooth movement.

Learn more about oral appliances.


  1. Oral appliances have been used to provide positive results in sleep apnea patients due to their effectiveness in treating spleep apnea by controlling the movement of the tongue or by repositioning the lower jaw to allow the airways to stay open.

  2. The sleep apnea dental appliance are usually fit in by a personal dentist according to an individual’s condition. Selecting a dental mouth piece to use for treatment of sleep apnea condition mainly depends on the person’s preference, sleep physician or personal dentist. However, to get the best fit, it is more advisable for the dentist and the sleep doctor to work closely together.



The Official Blog of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is intended as an information source only. Content of this blog should not be used for self-diagnosis or treatment, and it is not a substitute for medical care, which should be provided by the appropriate health care professional. If you suspect you have a sleep-related breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you should consult your personal physician or visit an AASM-accredited sleep disorders center. The AADSM, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, as the managing agent of the AADSM, assume no liability for the information contained on the Official Blog of the AADSM or for its use.