Is it Uncomfortable Sleeping With an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea?

Posted on: June 5, 2019

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while a person is sleeping. The interruption of their breathing makes it difficult to get a good night’s rest, leaving them tired and susceptible to other health risks.

Is it uncomfortable sleeping with an oral appliance for sleep apnea?

The good news for people dealing with sleep apnea is the disorder can be treated. However, in some cases, treatment involves using an appliance to help with their breathing while they sleep.

What are the different types of sleep apnea appliances?

The appliances that are used to treat sleep apnea include:

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)

This device is used for people dealing with moderate to severe sleep apnea by delivering air pressure while they sleep. The air pressure that the CPAP machine delivers is greater than the pressure in the surrounding air and keeps the upper passages open, preventing snoring and apnea.

Oral sleep apnea appliances

These devices are easy to use and keep the throat open, but they are less reliable than the CPAP machine. Some of these appliances open the throat by moving the jaw forward, which relieves snoring and mild sleep apnea.

Other airway devices

Despite its effectiveness, some people have trouble using a CPAP machine; however, there are other airway pressure devices to adjust the air pressure while they sleep. The auto-CPAP and bilevel positive airway pressure (BPAP) are other options to use in place of the CPAP machine.

Sleeping with sleep apnea appliances

The sleep apnea appliances mentioned are the most commonly used appliances to treat sleep apnea, and while they are effective, they can also be uncomfortable, preventing people from getting a good night’s rest, which defeats their purpose.

If a patient buys their sleep apnea appliances online, they will likely have difficulty sleeping because the appliance is not customized for them. Appliances that are not customized will likely not fit properly and will move around while they sleep, preventing them from getting a good night’s rest. Patients are better off getting their CPAP machine or other sleep apnea appliance from their doctor because they will help them find the right mask to fit their needs.

Another problem people have with CPAP machines is the fact that they come with a power cord, a hose, an air delivery system, manuals, filters and a mask, which makes it feel like they are sleeping with industrial equipment attached to their face.

Oral devices are much smaller, but they can also be uncomfortable because they force the jaw muscles to engage throughout the night to hold them in place, which can lead to soreness when the person is woken up. Another disadvantage is the excessive salivation or dry mouth that occurs when they breathe with their mouth open.


Sleep apnea appliances make it easier to treat the disorder but they can also be uncomfortable to use. If you have been diagnosed with the disorder and have difficulty sleeping with your appliance, talk to your dentist about getting your appliance properly fitted to improve your sleep.

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