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Adjusting to Life with an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea

April 12, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — cosleepap @ 7:36 pm
Woman soundly sleeping with an oral appliance

Did you just get an oral appliance for sleep apnea? Congrats, you’re on your way toward better sleep for a better life. Best of all, you can enjoy effective sleep apnea treatment without relying on the traditional CPAP machine. However, it can take some time to adjust to your oral appliance. While it may seem like you’re having issues at first, allowing your body to adjust will mean the positive difference in your night’s sleep. That’s why your dentist has included some easy tips for getting used to your new sleep apnea treatment.

The Most Common Complaints for New Oral Appliances

You must wear your oral appliance every night, which is why there is a slight adjustment period. Your body will react to it in different ways, but here are some of the most common experiences:

  • Drooling: Because your mouth will initially mistake your oral appliance for food, it will produce more saliva than usual.
  • Discomfort/tightness: If you’ve never worn any type of mouthguard or nightguard, the plastic on your teeth will feel unnatural at first. You may also experience some tightness, however this means your oral appliance won’t fall out during sleep.
  • Gagging: For some patients, especially those with a stronger gag reflex, placing oral appliances may be more difficult at first.
  • Nighttime removals: In some cases, patients may inadvertently take out their oral appliance at night, sometimes discarding it on the floor or bed.

How to Get Used to Your Oral Appliance

It sounds so simple, but the key to adjusting to your oral appliance is time! Give your brain some time to get used to this foreign object in your mouth. After about 2 to 3 weeks, it will begin to block out the sensations that cause the issues described above. That said, your gag reflex may take a little more effort to overcome. You can grow more used to your oral appliance by wearing it for short periods throughout the day. Practice breathing through your nose and letting your body relax. Over time, wearing your oral appliance will become second nature.

What If You Have Trouble Adjusting?

Once three weeks have passed, contact your dentist if you are still having trouble adjusting. The problem could be the design of the oral appliance itself. Your dentist may make some slight changes, or they could give you a new oral appliance altogether. No matter the case, they will ensure that you can enjoy comfortable and effective sleep apnea treatment.

Good things come to those who wait! Just be mindful of your progress and don’t get discouraged if your oral appliance takes some getting used to. A great night’s sleep is always worth it.

About the Practice

Dr. Glenn Thompson and Dr. Gary Radz combine their extensive sleep apnea training and knowledge to provide various types of custom-made oral appliances in addition to snoring treatments, at-home sleep studies, and much more. For any questions, they can be reached through their website or by phone at (303) 377-5337.

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