A sleep apnea patient considering the use of an oral appliance probably wonders how many choices are available and which ones are the best. Dr. Erika Mason of Sleep Better Virginia discusses the available options and the success rate of this treatment approach
Dr. Mason says that there may be as many as two hundred oral appliances on the market, but not all of those are FDA approved. Eliminating those from consideration, there are probably about twenty that are FDA approved for the treatment of sleep apnea.
In her own practice, Dr. Mason explains, she has some that she prefers over others. She says she has “about five or six that are go-to appliances” based on the results she has gotten with her patients. The choice of a specific device will depend on the patient. A large man with a muscular jaw will need an appliance that can take a beating. On the other hand, an elderly woman with a small jaw would require an entirely different kind of appliance.
As of this report, says Dr. Mason, there is no scientific evidence that one appliance is more effective than another. “They all work, and the all do . . . the same thing.” The one criterion she requires is that the appliance must be adjustable so that she can set the amount of forward jaw movement that is required.
As to the success rate, the availability of the MATRx equipment to adjust the appliance and find the “sweet spot” for forward jaw movement has improved the success rate, which was good even before this technology was available, according to Dr. Mason. She says about 80% of her patients find relief through the use of oral appliances without regard to their body mass index (BMI) number or their number on the Apnea- Hypopnea Index.
For over 25 years, Erika Mason, D.D.S. of Sleep Better Virginia has built a highly successful dental practice, renowned for its innovative services, focused on the care and comfort of patients. Along with general dentistry, she offers a wide variety of progressive dental techniques; including treatment of sleep apnea and treatment of migraine headaches all with the aid of the most advanced technology in order to help her patients feel better, sleep better, and look better. She spoke with Sleep Better TV, providing online sleep breathing disorder video news content. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.