Frequently Asked Questions


1. What are the advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy compared to CPAP?


Many patients find the CPAP machine uncomfortable, cumbersome, and loud.  Also, many CPAP users complain of leaking masks, skin irritation, and find that sleeping is difficult while wearing the CPAP.  On the other hand, oral appliances are custom made, comfortable, and easy to wear.  Treatment with the appliance is reversible and non-invasive.  Oral appliances are small and convenient which make them easy for travel.  Most patients adjust to wearing the oral appliance is just a few weeks.


2. How does an oral appliance work?


Worn in the mouth during sleep, oral appliances are devices that reposition the jaw and tongue, helping to keep the airway open.  The slightly forward position of the jaw tones the muscles that support the airway, keeping it open so that air can pass freely without obstruction.  Oral appliances are designed to maintain an open and unobstructed airway during sleep.


3. Does my insurance cover oral appliance therapy?


Most medical insurance companies will reimburse for oral appliances used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.  Pacific Coast Dental Sleep Medicine will work to maximize your medical insurance benefit for the oral appliance.  If the appliance is being made to only treat snoring and NOT obstructive sleep apnea, then other financial arrangements can be made.  Pacific Coast Dental Sleep Medicine can arrange for payment plans and also accepts CareCredit financing.  Pacific Coast Dental Sleep Medicine also accepts payment by cash, check, or credit card.


4. What type of success can I expect with oral appliance therapy?


Oral appliance therapy has been proven to be equally efficacious to CPAP in the treatment of mild and moderate obstructive sleep apnea.  Many individuals become discouraged with the use of CPAP and discontinue use over time.  Research studies have shown that patients prefer oral appliance therapy (51%) over CPAP (23.1%) and with a higher rate of compliance.


5. I snore loudly, but I am not sure if I have sleep apnea?


A sleep study (polysomnogram) or home sleep test would need to be performed to determine whether you have sleep apnea.  If the results determine that you are only a habitual snorer, without sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy would be an ideal form of treatment for you.


6. What type of training is needed in order to treat obstructive sleep apnea using oral appliances?


The diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea is made by a board certified sleep medicine physician.  However, a specially trained dentist fabricates the oral appliances used for treatment of OSA.  As part of dental training, a dentist learns about occlusion, oral anatomy, dental health, and the TMJ.  However, complete and comprehensive training in dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy is best achieved from completing a fellowship or mini-residency in dental sleep medicine.  Dr. Firtel completed a mini-residency in sleep medicine at the UCLA School of Dentistry, taught by UCLA School of Dentistry faculty members and dental sleep medicine professionals.  The mini-residency consisted of case presentations, literature review, classroom lectures, and formal hand-on clinical training.


Pacific Coast Dental Sleep Medicine     PHONE  858.453.8520     ADDRESS 3222 Governor Drive   San Diego, CA 92122    EMAIL