If you are considering oral appliance therapy for your sleep apnea, you might be wondering how long it might take to get the results you want to start enjoying deep, restful sleep. It’s understandable. You’ve been suffering from poor sleep for years. Now that you know what it’s doing to your body and that there’s a way to manage the condition, you are eager to see results. So when might you see these results? It depends.
The Lee’s Summit sleep dentists at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea work hard to deliver the best results as quickly as possible, but we can’t start helping you until you contact us.
How long does it take to get your custom oral appliance?
If you already have a sleep apnea diagnosis, it takes from 1-3 weeks after your appointment. If you haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it might take 2-5 weeks or more to deliver your oral appliance.
When you schedule an appointment with a Lee’s Summit sleep dentist, we will determine where you are in the process. If you haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea yet, we will help you get a sleep test. Most people can take a home sleep test, which can take 1-2 weeks to complete your test and get a diagnosis from a sleep doctor. You typically have 5 days to complete your sleep test at home, but it only takes two nights of testing, so you can complete it in just two days if you want.
If you already have a sleep apnea diagnosis, we can evaluate you right away for a sleep apnea appliance. We’ll determine whether you are likely to benefit from oral appliance therapy, and which oral appliance is most likely to give you the best, most comfortable results. Then we’ll order your oral appliance. It takes 1-3 weeks for a lab to manufacture and deliver an oral appliance, depending on the complexity of your case, the type of appliance, and delivery variables.
Once we have your oral appliance, we will schedule a fitting appointment, which is quick but can sometimes be hard to schedule if you lead a busy life.
How long does it take to adjust to an oral appliance?
The adjustment period for an oral appliance is typically 2-4 weeks. If your sleep dentist fits the appliance well, it can speed adjustment.
Wearing an oral appliance is easy, compared to CPAP, but it’s still a change from your normal routine. This means that it can take time before you adjust to wearing the appliance every night. In general, it takes 2-4 weeks for people to get used to their oral appliance. At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, our Lee’s Summit sleep dentists utilize our advanced diagnostic equipment to help you get the best fit right away, which can help you adapt to your appliance more quickly.
How long does it take to see results from oral appliance therapy?
Some people will see results immediately. Other people may take several months to find the optimal setting for their oral appliance to achieve deep, restful sleep.
Once you start wearing your oral appliance, you will likely see some improvement in your sleep. For some people, this means sleeping through the night and getting deep restful sleep right away.
Other people might not get full relief from sleep apnea at first, despite seeing some improvement. For these people, we will have to adjust the oral appliance gradually over time to achieve the results you desire. We will slowly adjust your oral appliance to move your jaw forward until it holds your airway open all night.
Advanced imaging of your airway using a pharyngometer and/or CBCT helps us narrow in on the precise adjustment for your oral appliance. However, we might not set it to that right away. If managing your sleep apnea requires moving your jaw forward significantly, it might be uncomfortable to jump to it right away. Adjusting slowly might delay results, but it will improve your ability to maintain those results by adhering to oral appliance therapy.
How long will results from oral appliance therapy last?
As long as nothing else changes, oral appliance therapy will remain effective for as long as you use your oral appliance. Health and lifestyle changes might require further adjustment of your oral appliance, changing to a different appliance, or switching to CPAP for sleep apnea.
You can use oral appliance therapy to manage your sleep apnea over the long term. Long-term studies demonstrate that oral appliance therapy is as effective as CPAP after two years and 10 years of treatment.
However, changes in your health and lifestyle might affect the results of oral appliance therapy. Your appliance might become less effective if you:
- Gain weight
- Get less exercise
- Lose teeth
- Drink more alcohol
- Use prescription or recreational drugs
- Take up smoking or other habits that irritate your airway
Fat deposits on the neck and tongue narrow your airway, so if you gain weight, it can make it harder for your oral appliance to hold your airway open. A lack of exercise, in addition to contributing to weight gain, can cause your muscles to lose tone, which means they won’t support your airway as well. Your teeth help anchor your oral appliance, so losing teeth can make it less effective.
Lifestyle changes can also impact your oral appliance therapy. Drinking more alcohol or using drugs that relax your muscles can make it harder for your oral appliance to hold your airway open. In addition, habits that irritate your airway can cause swelling that makes your airway more likely to close.
A CPAP Alternative in Lee’s Summit
Are you looking to manage your sleep apnea in Lee’s Summit without CPAP? At the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea, we can determine whether oral appliance therapy is a good option for you.
To speak to a Lee’s Summit sleep dentist, please call (816) 795-1000 or use our online form today to request an appointment at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea located in Lee’s Summit, located near the 83rd Street exit from I-470.