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[Equipment] New sleep apnea patient here using oral device for first time
Hey everyone!

So I have sleep apnea obviously.  I decided to go for an oral device or mouth guard first.   I got it fitted with a sleep dentist and got it yesterday then tried it out for the first time last night.  It was not easy!  I told the nurse that it was pretty tight at the top when I tried it there at the sleep dentist and she told me I'd get used to it or the device would loosen up or something after a while.  So I went home and tried it last night.  The device is so big!  So I couldn't close my mouth unless I tried so I decided to just let it go.  After a while, my upper teeth on the left started hurting.  The device sure clamps on your teeth tight!  Why is it so tight?  I have a mouth guard I got years ago from my regular dentist for grinding.  Worked out great and no trouble.  The mouth guard doesn't grip your teeth so tightly so I don't know why they're so afraid this one I got yesterday is going to fall out of my mouth.

Now my second issue is the placement of my tongue when I wear it.  I sleep on my stomach, by the way.  I have to be mindful about where my tongue is because if my tongue is placed in between my teeth or over the gap of my teeth in the middle then I feel like I can't breathe through my mouth.  I could breathe through my nose (unless I have a cold but I don't have to worry about that right now but someday I will when I do get a cold) but when I try to breathe my nose, my cheeks are blowing out as if I'm still breathing through my nose.  So it's hard to make sure my tongue stays down below my bottom teeth and not above it.  My tongue has a mind of its own when I don't try to keep it below the bottom teeth.  Now I have to wonder if I really have sleep apnea or if I just wake up at night because of the tongue covering my teeth, causing my breathing to stop.  I only had one sleep study.  Wouldn't everyone stop breathing for a few seconds from time to time or do you never have to stop breathing at all to not be diagnosed with sleep apnea?

Third issue... drooling!  When I took the guard out for a few minutes because it was hurting my teeth, it was FULL of drool!  I don't know how to control that at all. Seems like a natural thing to do when you sleep so I don't know.

Any thoughts?

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Makes CPAP not look so bad, huh? Why use a MAD. It's more expensive, and in the long run it can misalign your jaw and cause pain, and it's not particularly effective for most people. Anyway, best of luck, but depending on your apnea severity, you'll be looking for a better solution soon.
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I tried one and quickly gave it up. Full face mask works great for me.

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(02-18-2017, 10:21 AM)liz81 Wrote: Any thoughts?

Hi Liz. Welcome to Apnea Board. Not too many people here treat their apnea with a dental device. Pretty much all of us use a CPAP machine.

Another disadvantage of a dental appliance is that it can't gather any data to tell you if it's an effective treatment. These devices really have a secondary status. They are for people who have tried CPAP and were unsuccessful. CPAP therapy can be a hurdle and many people give up. We are here primarily as a support group to help people get over that initial hump. It's the key to success for many people.
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Hi liz81,
WELCOME! to the forum.!
Unfortunately, the dental device isn't as good as CPAP therapy for treating sleep apnea.
With a data-capable CPAP machine, and data-management software, (such as SleepyHead,) You can see, (and keep track of,) how your treatment is going.
I do wish you good luck on your Sleep apnea journey.
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I chose the dental device because I've had a mouth guard before to stop grinding and it didn't bother me so much so I was used to something similar to that. I've looked into sleep apnea and my options and I chose the dental device because my sleep apnea is not severe but just mild. CPAP machines are used mainly if your sleep apnea is severe and that's not it in my case. From what I've seen, an oral device can be helpful enough if your sleep apnea is not severe. I had a sleep study done and that's what they determined. I was reluctant to use a CPAP machine because I didn't want my face covered up with all that strap put around my head. Looks to me a CPAP would be really uncomfortable and bothersome for people who are trying to sleep. When I had the sleep study done, I didn't get much sleep with all those monitors on me and the dental device only touch the teeth and mouth, nothing else. It doesn't cover your whole face, nose, your head or anything like that. Actually I did some looking around online today and turns out most of the issues I described are normal but only for a short time and since I only used it once, I can't say I won't be able to use it in the long run. So looks like I have to get used to it.

I don't know if I'm going to be posting much here. People here don't seem very supportive of any options except for the CPAP.

Sorry, my response got mixed in the middle of the thread, rather than the bottom of the page lol.
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Quote:CPAP machines are used mainly if your sleep apnea is severe

Welcome Liz.  That statement is simply not true.  It is true that only CPAP provides long term benefit for severe sleep apnea.  For mild sleep apnea, some other treatments, like your device and provide temporary, partial treatment.  

When I was first diagnosed, the horror stories I had heard of CPAP (a mask!  and a hose!  it is horrible!) made me opt for an oral device.  It was simple, small, easy to travel with.  What more could I ask?  And a friend of mine manages a Somnodent lab.  I went to see a dentist who specializes in these and does related research at the University of British Columbia.  She was very direct and honest about the success rate and drawbacks of these device.  We looked at them and discussed them for about a hour.  For me the deal killer was that after 11 years, 100% of people experiencing permanent bite misalignment (the rates before that start at about 4 years of use).  Not being able to chew properly was not something that I found acceptable.  

After some pondering, I decided that a hose and mask might not be so bad after all.  And it has not, after a short period of adjustment.  Now I actually like it! I lie in bed awake in the morning with it on.

So, yes, almost all of us here use CPAP.  For long-term, successful treatment it is the gold standard.  Everything else is second best, only a good choice if you absolutley can't tolerate CPAP.
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Hi Liz,

As one who has struggled with pap therapy who tried out an oral device, I definitely understand your concerns.   Unfortunately, I found wearing an oral appliance alot more intolerable than wearing a mask.   What really freaked me out was when I woke up after 3 hours, my jaw felt like it was already greatly out of alignment.   I couldn't imagine what would happen if I were to wear it on a full-time basis.  

Unfortunately, there aren't any good support forums for people who wear sleep apnea dental devices.  If you go to https://myapnea.org/forum and register, there is a thread called "problems you are having with your dental appliance" that might be helpful.   The dentist who started it seems to respond quickly and tries to be helpful.

If you do decide at some point to try pap therapy, this forum is a great source for support.   What I would advise is to list all the concerns you have about trying it so people can help you troubleshoot the issues in a systematic way.

Whatever you decide, I wish you all the luck in the world.

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(02-18-2017, 08:12 PM)liz81 Wrote: Looks to me a CPAP would be really uncomfortable and bothersome for people who are trying to sleep.  When I had the sleep study done, I didn't get much sleep with all those monitors on me

Nobody can argue with that, I had the same issue during my sleep study, and CPAP does require to get used to it. My first week was a nightmare.

However, if you stick with it, you usually get used to it after several weeks, and then start getting the benefits (even if not kept for the entire night).

As my sleep doctor said, when I raised concerns about being able to tolerate CPAP, most people not sticking with CPAP after a few weeks probably don't need it to start with. People who actually need it will stick to it.

It doesn't bother me that much now, and I have been using CPAP for only 3 months. I haven't skipped a single night.
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Hi Liz and welcome to the board. I like you, was first diagnosed with mild to moderate SA about 7 years ago. I tried a CPAP then but had a hard time adjusting and decided to go to an oral device since my SA wasn't "that bad". I used it religiously but never really felt good. Finally made the decision last fall to get my SA addressed. Latest sleep study showed I now moved to the severe range and believe me I felt it. I was absolutely committed to make xPAP work this time and have been 100% compliant for 3 months now. I can honestly say I didn't realize how tired and foggy I had been. I feel so much better now and it keeps getting better. In hind site, I wish I had stayed with my first CPAP 7 years ago rather than using a dental appliance. It would have led to a much happy time in my life. Please understand that any level of sleep apnea is bad and usually has a very negative impact on your life. Like the other responses you've gotten, I would encourage you to make the commitment to xPAP therapy.

Good luck with your journey!
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