When people suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), they want to find a remedy that brings relief. They want more restful and refreshing sleep! One of the most common sleep apnea treatment plans includes CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure. To receive the most benefit, people are forced to use this noisy and cumbersome machine every night. A CPAP includes a mask that fits over the nose and mouth (sometimes the entire face), a tube running from the mask to the unit’s motor, and the electrical cord. This motor is responsible for pumping air pressure through the tube and mask and down the patient’s airway to keep the airway open. Although this sleep apnea treatment is usually effective at eliminating the symptoms, up to 50 percent of CPAP users, want to discover other sleep apnea treatment options.
The long-term CPAP compliance rate can be as low as 40-50% as many people stop using the devices due to discomfort, inconvenience, noise or lack of patient education. Since complications from sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, it is essential to explore a sleep apnea treatment alternative (other than CPAP) that more people will use on a regular basis.
CPAP Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Automatic Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (APAP)
One common complaint about CPAP machines is the single setting available. This does not always supply adequate pressure. With APAP therapy, there is an adjustable amount of pressure given throughout sleep so that a person receives optimal air levels as breathing levels change.
Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (BiPAP)
Another problem with a CPAP machine is the discomfort during exhalation against the constant pressure. As a patient exhales, they feel constrained trying to blow air out as air is rushing inward. It is like swimming upstream. A BiPAP machine supplies an adjustable level of air pressure; as it senses the patient exhaling, the computer lowers the inward pressure so the exhaling process is easier.
Obstructed Sleep Apnea is precipitated due to many reasons. One complicating factor is obesity. There are many other related factors, including; a patient’s throat anatomy, tonsil, uvula, tongue, neck, and jaw sizes, and the shape of the upper and lower jaws. Weight reduction to a normal BMI (Body Mass Index) range of 18.5-24.9 is a strong recommendation to all patients. But when a person’s Body Mass Index exceeds 24.9, sleep disordered breathing is frequently seen. Weight loss is considered an adjunct sleep apnea treatment.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
When a person is looking for an alternative to CPAP therapy, one option is surgery. Surgery is invasive and it is usually used as a last recourse when other treatments have failed to work. There are a number of surgical procedures that may be effective. For instance, some people have their tonsils and adenoids removed. Others receive nasal surgery to clear obstructions. Another procedure moves the jawbone forward so that there is a larger space behind the tongue. In extreme instances, a person may need to undergo a tracheostomy, which places a permanent opening in the windpipe.
Oral Appliance Therapy
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved over 100 variously designed Mandibular Advancement Devices to be used for treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If you or your physician decide that CPAP therapy is not the best treatment option for you, or you have tried a CPAP and find it doesn’t work for you, then ask to be referred to a qualified dentist who can provide you with a modern Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD).
Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A MAD fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer, covering both upper and lower teeth. By positioning your lower jaw slightly open and slightly forward, we are able to open your airway in your throat. These appliances are fully customized and may require a few visits to your dentist to properly adjust them to your personal needs. Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an as effective or even more effective than a CPAP for treating mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans, thus limiting your out of pocket expenses.
Dr. Offenback exclusively offers MAD oral devices as a sleep apnea treatment option. His experience with oral devices is quite personal, as he is also an OSA patient and he wears an oral MAD every night. Just ask his wife… she loves her quiet nights now without his snoring! Dr. Offenback’s patients are also sleeping through the night, getting a more restful sleep and having less fatigue during the day.
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment that fits easily into your lifestyle. Patients like oral appliance therapy because they are:
- Drastically reduce or eliminate snoring
- Convenient for travel
- Easy to clean
The bottom line is when a person has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is essential to uncover effective treatments. A CPAP machine is commonly recommended and works effectively to open a person’s airways. Unfortunately, this unit is uncomfortable and cumbersome, and an individual often looks for alternatives or discontinues treatment altogether. This can be fatal. Besides using similar machines and/or surgery, a person may consider non-invasive custom fitted oral device. These appliances are much more discreet and fit comfortably in the mouth during sleep. Treating snoring or obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. It is likely that you will sleep better, have more energy and feel sharper throughout the day. You may find that your bed partner begins to sleep better, too! For more information about oral appliance therapy and other treatments, consult with the experts at Wekiva Dental.
Treating snoring or obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. It is likely that you will sleep better, have more energy and feel sharper throughout the day. You may find that your bed partner begins to sleep better, too! For more information about oral appliance therapy and other treatments, consult with the experts at Wekiva Dental.
For more information about oral appliance therapy and other treatments, consult with the experts at Wekiva Dental. Call us today at 407-869-7333 for a consultation to discuss sleep apnea treatment options. Your spouse will thank us.