Normally, sleep physicians know better than to try to fit oral appliances for their patients. They know that this is an area of practice best left to trained sleep dentists who understand how the appliance interacts with the oral environment, including your airway, teeth, gums, and jaw.
However, sometimes your general doctor might think they are being helpful if they fit you with a “temporary” or “transitional” oral appliance of the “boil and bite” type. There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t allow this.
Not Proven Effective
If simple boil-and-bite mouthguards were effective at treating sleep apnea, we would never go to the trouble of crafting the more complex fitted mouthguards that we use. We would all save ourselves the time and trouble and just use these ones that can be completed in a single visit.
However, this type of mouthguard has not been shown to be effective against sleep apnea, and, really, are little better than the over-the-counter remedies that you should avoid.
An Additional Expense You’ll Have to Pay for
Insurance companies don’t want to pay for ineffective remedies. They will only cover oral appliances that meet their strict criteria for proven effectiveness, and the temporary or transitional appliance your doctor is offering won’t do that. The doctor isn’t going to just not charge for the service, so when the claim for the temporary gets denied, the bill will be sent back to you.
It Can Be Harmful
Poorly fitting oral appliances can be damaging. They can cause jaw pain and soreness, can lead to tooth wear, and can even damage dental restorations. If you aren’t told how to properly clean them they can contribute to oral diseases, including gum disease and tooth decay.
It Could Jeopardize Your Long-Term Results
Adjustment to the use of an oral appliance depends on learning how to use it right in the first place. A bad experience with a poorly made or badly fitted oral appliance can change how you feel about oral appliances in general. It can even establish negative feelings toward your permanent appliance, whether you know it or not.
We recommend that if you are going to be fitted with an oral appliance for sleep apnea, it’s important to see a sleep dentist right away and not accept imitation treatments. To learn more about your sleep apnea treatment options in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.