Dentistry and Sleep Apnea

I recently received a question about sleep apnea. This patient has tried the CPAP and home remedies and they have not worked.  He has seen ads for home fit mouthpieces and also an ad from a sleep specialist dentist who is offering a mouthpiece called Somnomed that will cost about $3100.
What do I think?
Dentists are in an odd position when it comes to treating these issues.  We traditionally guarantee our work for the most part.  I mean, if we place a filling, you are pretty much assured it will last for years.  If it comes out we will replace it at no charge.
This expensive device will likely be helpful. But it is out of the traditional loop and there is not likely any guarantee.  I have seen them fail.

This type of appliance functions by moving the lower jaw forward in effort to open and increase the throat volume and allow air to pass with less obstruction.  This is a good step towards the problem but cannot be labeled as a sure solution.

My problem with this approach is only based on money.  I do not imagine that you have much recourse in case of failure.  And failure is a real possibility.  Most likely it may improve the situation to some degree.  If money isn’t an issue, it’s worth a try.

You will find that there are home-based appliances available on the Internet that will try to move your jaw forward.  You could try one at much less cost.

I was asked if I make these Somnomed appliances.   I have not done so but I could if it seemed appropriate.   Part of the Somnomed protocol is the Cephalometric x ray for the evaluation of airway.  This is done to see if you are a good candidate for the device.  We have a local x ray lab that takes these images for us.  We can also make a different appliance that we call the NOP, nocturnal orthopedic positioner.  It is less costly but is also less high tech (not adjustable).

Good luck.

Grant Rickey, DDS