To limit the effects of sleep apnea on their quality of life, many patients turn to a snoring mouth guard to eliminate this problem.
Patients may consult with an oral surgeon to design such a device, although no invasive intervention is involved. The oral surgeon will carefully examine the structures of the patient’s soft palate and jaw to inform the appliance’s design.
During the process of planning for the oral appliance, patients often ask the oral surgeon about any potential side effects that may arise from wearing the device.
There are a number of side effects that patients can experience while wearing an oral appliance, but most of them are temporary.
The most common long-term side effect is a slight change in the bite that develops from repeated wear of the appliance. When this occurs, the teeth only shift slightly and functionality is usually not affected. Nonetheless, some patients complain of a spot in which food may get stuck.
Another side effect is some jaw discomfort upon waking. Again, this is often minimal and it dissipates within a few hours. It results from muscle stiffness due to the jaw being held in the same position for hours at a time. Many patients who experience this side effect find it more tolerable than sleep apnea’s effects.
Other side effects of oral appliance therapy may include dry mouth and lips and slight irritation to the cheeks. Some patients may have an allergy to the materials used in the appliance, but this is quite rare.
If you are considering sleep appliance therapy, discuss the possible side effects with our oral surgeons, Drs. Steven Koos DDS, MD and Brian Shah DDS, MD, as part of the planning process. Your oral surgeon may be able to offer suggestions of ways to cope with these side effects if they do occur.