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Oral Appliance Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are oral appliances effective?

    Oral appliances have been scientifically proven to be 95% effective for improving snoring, and therefore waking more refreshed and energised.

    The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Australasian Sleep Association now consider oral appliances to be a first line treatment for snoring, and an effective alternative for sleep apnoea sufferers who are unable to use the CPAP machine.

  • What is the best treatment for snoring?

    Most sleep physicians consider oral appliances as the most effective treatment for snoring, and it widely regarded as the least invasive available treatment.

    It’s important to understand most “over the counter” treatments for snoring – such as sprays, medications, and pillows – are largely unproven and ineffective.

    Breathing re-training is another treatment lacking in scientific evidence for effectiveness. While lifestyle changes such as weight loss and alternative sleep positioning can be very helpful, oral appliances remain the gold standard for snoring.

  • Are all oral appliances as good as each other?

    Not at all. There are currently over 50 different oral appliances available worldwide. Many of these appliances have not endured or passed scientific studies to prove effectiveness, are not adjustable and often “one size fits all”.

    While these appliances can be less expensive, they are not as effective or comfortable. It’s important to note these inferior appliances have been banned in the US, however are still available in Australia at this point.

    SleepWise clinic utilises five government-approved, scientifically tested oral appliances, each carefully chosen for their comfort, effectiveness, and features. The ideal appliance for each person depends on factors such as the size, position and number of teeth as well as the size and position of the jaw.

  • Are oral appliances comfortable to wear?

    Although the mouth can be a sensitive area, the vast majority of people adapt within a night or two and find the appliance surprisingly comfortable. This is because the appliances we make are tailor-made and very thin.

  • Is treatment covered by private health insurance?

    There are private health insurance rebates available, however the capped amount available for refund does alter. Contact SleepWise Clinic for a full list of item numbers used for treatment, which you can use to determine the full amount rebatable.

  • What is included in the treatment fee for an oral appliance?
    • A clinical visit in which the health of the teeth and mouth are assessed.
    • Any radiographs (X-rays) which may be required.
    • An assessment for the possible presence of sleep apnoea.
    • High level of support including any adjustment visits should they be required.
    • A follow-up assessment visit approximately six weeks after fitting the oral appliance.
    • A warranty that covers any faults, repairs, or maintenance with the appliance.
  • How long does an oral appliance last?

    An oral appliance generally lasts for between three to five years. However, appliances can last much longer than this depending on how you take care of it. We occasionally have patients who have appliances last over 10 years before needing a replacement! Replacing your device several years down the track is usually done at a significant discount off the original price.

  • What if I am missing teeth or have a bridge or denture?

    There are new appliances which can be successfully used in many different situations – even if all the upper teeth are missing. You would need to have at least a total of four teeth to be able to utilise a dental sleep appliance. It is important to have a thorough assessment of the teeth, gums and jaw to ensure predictable, successful results with minimal long-term problems.

  • I don't want to use the CPAP machine - is the oral appliance an alternative?

    While CPAP is regarded as a gold standard treatment for severe sleep apnoea, oral appliances are now regarded as a viable, more comfortable alternative to CPAP for those who find it too difficult to use the CPAP machine.

    Oral appliances are also a fantastic secondary option for CPAP users when travelling or where there is no access to power. For those wishing to switch to a dental sleep appliances, they can do so in their initial SleepWise consultation.

  • Do I have to wear the oral appliance for life?

    No. There may be other methods which you can do for yourself that can help overcome the problem. This varies between individuals and is assessed and discussed in the first consultation.

    For many people, lifestyle changes such as weight loss, exercise or changing body position during sleep can go a long way to overcoming snoring and sleep apnoea.

  • Are there any side-effects?

    The vast majority of people have little or no side effects. A small percentage of people may experience minor side-effects such as excessive saliva, jaw tenderness, pressure on teeth and bite changes. Most side-effects are temporary and disappear after a day or two, or with a simple adjustment.

  • How does the oral appliance work?

    Oral appliances work by holding the lower jaw slightly forward during sleep, thereby opening the airway at the back of the throat. The tongue is attached to the lower jaw and, with the jaw held forward, the tongue is prevented from collapsing back.


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