Though not always the first choice for treating obstructive sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy is just as beneficial as other solutions, with fewer downsides.
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a proven treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM) is the leading national organization representing dentists who treat OSA with OAT. The AADSM recently developed this list of facts to increase awareness of the efficacy of this treatment option, and how patients can access it.
1. OAT is effective
Studies have demonstrated that OAT effectively treats OSA through reduction in apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) and respiratory disturbance index in patients.Studies have demonstrated similar effectiveness between OAT and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), even among patients with moderate-to-severe OSA.
2. OAT provides the same short and long-term health benefits as CPAP
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality
- Reduction in blood pressure
- Improved sleep quality
- Reduced daytime sleepiness
- Reduced depression
- Improved driving performance
3. Patients comply with it
CPAP is often prescribed as the first-line therapy for those with OSA; however, about 50 percent of patients will become non-compliant with their treatment after one year. Studies have indicated that up to 93 percent of patients are compliant with OAT.
4. Patients prefer it
As many as 81 percent of patients prefer OAT to CPAP because it is effective, easy to use, easy to transport,quiet, comfortable, noninvasive, and less obtrusive.
5. Qualified dentists (not durable medical equipment companies) manage OAT
Once prescribed by a physician, oral appliances are provided by a qualified dentist, who is trained in the delivery of oral appliances, as well as the nuances of coordinating treatment for a medical disorder with the diagnosing physician. If patients have a problem with their oral appliance or experience side effects, they simply call their qualified dentist.
6. Medical insurance covers it
Medicare and most major commercial insurers cover OAT.
7. Qualified dentists are out there
OSA should only be treated by qualified dentists who have the necessary training to provide optimal care and know how to communicate with both physicians and patients. Verify that your local dentist is qualified to provide oral appliance therapy on the Find an AADSM Dentistweb page at aadsm.org, by calling 630-686-9875, or emailing [email protected].