Treatments For OSA

There are many treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but Dr. Wilk specializes in oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are a great alternative for those who are intolerant to CPAP machines and they can treat mild to severe sleep apnea.

Dr. Steven Wilk is a three-time board certified D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) based in Denver, CO. He is known for his use of oral appliance therapy to effectively treat sleep apnea and snoring as an alternative to CPAP. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree from Michigan State University, he attended…

Meet the doctor

Oral Appliance Therapy

Although a CPAP machine is the most common treatment for sleep apnea, some patients are bothered by the bulky machine and headgear. The CPAP can also be noisy, both for themself and their partner. That’s why oral appliance therapy can be a great option. These small retainers are an easy-to-use, effective solution for sleep apnea.

Mandibular Repositioning Device

The most common appliance is the mandibular repositioning device (MAD) which moves your jaw forward to keep your airway open. By moving the jaw forward, tissues are less likely to collapse and block the airway.

Tongue Retaining Devices

This is another type of oral appliance that holds your tongue in place while you sleep. Placed on the lips or teeth, the device will gently pull your tongue forward and away from the back of your throat where it may cause airway restriction. This is a better option for people who wear dentures since it will not pull the jaw forward.

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances are custom-made to comfortably fit your mouth, which will maximize their effectiveness since it is not uncomfortable to wear. These FDA-approved appliances are also easily portable, and you can even drink and talk while wearing them. Unlike electrical CPAP machines, they do not require any ongoing costs or upkeep and are silent, providing you and your partner some much-needed relief. Most patients will get used to the feeling of their device within a few days or weeks and can expect results within that time.

Combined OSA Therapy

Combined therapy involves using a CPAP machine while also wearing a custom oral appliance. Combined therapy from our Denver, CO specialty dentist and team enables a sleep apnea patient to benefit from oral appliance therapy, and it also allows them to turn their CPAP to a lower setting. This can lead to increased comfort and better compliance for consistently better sleep. For this to work, a patient wears a nasal mask as opposed to a full facemask with their CPAP, which many people say is much more comfortable. Dr. Wilk can easily design an appliance that can work with a patient’s CPAP, so they can benefit from the two most effective treatments available today.

Who Can Benefit from Combined Therapy?

  • Patients diagnosed with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Patients who do not like or have stopped wearing their CPAP
  • Patients who still struggle to sleep despite using a CPAP or oral appliance alone
  • Patients who have sleep apnea too severe to be treated by just an oral appliance
  • Patients who experience both sleep apnea and teeth grinding (bruxism)


I was completely satisfied with the professionalism and work of Dr. Wilk and his staff. My husband is very happy that I no longer wake and worry him with my sleep apnea. The appliance Dr. Wilk recommended works very well, even after a year of nightly use. I just had my first annual checkup and the appliance still fits perfectly and is in excellent condition.

I was using a CPAP machine( which was very cumbersome ), until I visited Dr. Wilk two years ago, he fit me with a mouth appliance to substitute the CPAP machine. I was very skeptical at the beginning but it worked great with no discomfort, now I sleep and feel better, and when I travel I just take a small mouth guard case, so much more convenient. I highly recommend Dr. Wilk for his services, he and his staff are very professional and also very nice.

Dr. Wilk and his staff are very professional and “cutting edge” in their field. My examination was more thorough than any I had had before, and the care I received was excellent. In addition to regular dental work, I had veneers done. They have changed my smile, whitened my teeth, and greatly improved my self-confidence. I would recommend this practice to anyone looking for exceptional dental care.

Underlying Factors

If your sleep apnea is the result of other health conditions, such as TMJ, orofacial pain, or obesity, treating these disorders first may simultaneously resolve your sleep apnea. We can refer you to a number of excellent doctors who specialize in weight loss surgery or pain management.

Hoe common is sleep apnea?

It is estimated that 22 million people in the US suffer from sleep apnea, yet as many as 80% of cases of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as other ailments.

What are the most common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?

The most common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, which induces airway pressure and keeps the throat open while sleeping, and oral appliance therapy which keeps the airway open by changing the position of the jaw and tongue.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where the airway in the throat becomes impeded while sleeping, leading to an inability to breathe normally. It can lead to multiple sleep disruptions (or apneas) throughout the night.

Is CPAP the only effective treatment for OSA?

No. CPAPs are the most common treatment for sleep apnea but many people cannot wear them. One alternative is oral appliance therapy which keeps the airway open by changing the position of the jaw and tongue. A last option would be surgery.

How do CPAP machines work?

The machine forces continuous airflow through your nose to prevent the airway from collapsing when muscles relax during sleep. This results in a continuous oxygen level throughout the night. Unfortunately, many wearers do not or cannot tolerate the machine for various reasons and seek alternative forms of treatment.

How does sleep oral appliance therapy work?

A custom-fit oral device available through Denver Sleep Apnea Center is a highly effective, non-invasive option for sufferers of sleep apnea and snoring. The device fits similar to a retainer and is comfortable, quiet, and easily portable for travel.

How does OSA surgery work?

Surgery is performed to remove or reposition the tissues in the throat to stop blockage of the airway, or to implant a device to stimulate tissue in the tongue.

What is a sleep oral appliance?

Oral Appliances support the jaw in such a way that prevents the tongue from falling back into the airway and causing obstruction of airflow during sleep.

Can lifestyle changes alone treat OSA?

For some patients, weight loss through exercise - as well as avoiding alcohol and smoking - can improve sleep apnea. However, some patients may still need to explore additional treatment technologies even with these lifestyle changes.

Is it possible to outgrow OSA?

Obstructive sleep apnea does not go away on its own. In fact, it can worsen serious health conditions if left untreated.

Are there any non-invasive treatments for OSA?

CPAPs and oral appliances are non-invasive treatments for sleep apnea. Surgery for sleep apnea is typically used in very rare cases.

What are the symptoms of OSA?

The most noticeable symptoms of sleep apnea are fatigue (even when getting a full night’s rest), snoring, feeling out of breath, dry mouth, high blood pressure, mood disorders, and headaches.

What causes OSA?

There are multiple causes. One of the most common is anatomical abnormalities of the soft tissues in the back of the mouth. Obstructive sleep apnea can also be caused by excess weight that causes the airways in the throat to close while sleeping.

How is OSA diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed by performing a sleep test where your breathing is monitored throughout the night. This can be performed at home using an at-home diagnostic device.

What are the consequences of untreated OSA?

Untreated sleep apnea can significantly increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, and serious accidents – among many other things. In fact, untreated sleep apnea can reduce your life expectancy by several years.

Is OSA a permanent condition?

Obstructive sleep apnea is generally a permanent condition. Although it may be improved by lifestyle choices like losing weight, many patients must undergo sleep apnea treatment for the long term.


To receive your diagnosis and learn more about a treatment plan for sleep apnea, schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilk at the Denver Sleep Apnea Center today.