I am a 25 year old otherwise healthy female who was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in fall of 2009. I'm 5'2", 115 lbs and non-smoker so there were no lifestyle/dietary changes that would help and I was not able to adapt to the CPAP due to claustrophobia/panic attacks.
I was nervous about extreme surgical options such as UPPP due to inconclusive results and potential for significant negative side effects. In the end I had my ENT doctor perform a tonsilectomy along with a minor deviated septum correction and nasal turbinate reduction to help improve air flow.
I didn't have particularly large tonsils but I knew CPAP was not a realistic long term option for me so I thought I would give it a try. Recovery was painful and 6 weeks later my sleep study results still showed the respiratory disturbance index (RDI) of 50.0.
Shortly before surgery my dentist mentioned that he had starting providing oral appliances for apnea/snoring sufferers that was having great results but I disregarded it as the reviews for oral appliances I'd read online were very mixed.
However, after surgery failed, I went back for more information and learned that it was a fairly new appliance called "SomnoDent" that he was working with and it had some key improvements over prior devices. Since I had tried everything else, I figured I'd give it a shot. It was $1500 but insurance covered $900 of the cost so it's not much difference than the CPAP machine.
It took a few days to get used to the appliance but it's basically like wearing a hard mouth guard similar to what teeth grinders would wear. It works by moving your jaw forward and has these groves on the outside that keep the jaw in position while still allowing you to open your mouth and yawn.
In the morning there's a separate custom mold that you put in for 20 minutes or so to work your jaw back to it's normal position - it's a little uncomfortable as you're working out the kinks but after the 20 minutes it's all back to normal.
I went in for sleep study wearing the SomnoDent a few weeks ago and the results - I went from an RDI of 50.0 to 0!
I wake up feeling like I actually got some rest now and it's amazing what a difference that makes. While I'm still hoping the medical world will find some permanent solution so I can be "cured" of sleep apnea, the SomnoDent is by far the best treatment option for me.
At 25, the idea of sleeping with a mask hooked up to a machine for rest of my life as far from ideal. With the SomnoDent, I feel like it's pretty much the same as needing to wear a mouthguard - it's easy to travel with, won't bother those you share the bed with, and requires the same level of maintenance as the retainers from grade school.
That I can happily handle.
I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide