A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or CPAP machine, is recognized as an effective tool in the treatment for sleep apnea. However, few people would claim that using one is comfortable or convenient. Fortunately for patients, there are other sleep apnea treatment options. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) takes a different approach. See how they compare.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
When someone suffers from sleep apnea, they repeatedly stop breathing for brief periods while sleeping. Although the snoring associated with the ailment is often viewed as an annoyance or a punchline, sleep apnea is no joke. The condition is linked to serious health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular issues and stroke. Finding a sleep apnea treatment that you can stick with is vital to protecting your overall health.
The Challenge of CPAP Therapy
When used properly, CPAP therapy does an excellent job of treating sleep apnea. Unfortunately, only 50 percent of patients use it consistently and correctly.
Why is compliance so shoddy?
In a nutshell, CPAP therapy is uncomfortable and awkward. Users must attempt to sleep while wearing a sleep apnea mask. The cumbersome mask is connected by a hose to a sleep apnea machine. This bulky contraption requires electricity to function as it delivers the pressurized air that keeps the patient’s airway from collapsing. With hoses and cords and claustrophobia-inspiring masks, it’s no wonder that many patients opt to forgo treatment. If you’re already wearing a CPAP, then you know all of this is necessary for the CPAP sleep apnea machine to work.
The Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
Studies show that oral appliance therapy is just as effective as CPAP therapy in treating mild and moderate cases of sleep apnea. However, it provides a completely different experience. With this newer form of sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance repositions the jaw. Worn while the patient sleeps, it shifts the jaw slightly down and to the front to help the airway stay open. Sometimes the oral appliance is also called a mandibular advancement device.
An oral appliance is small and resembles a mouth guard or retainer. It covers both the upper and lower teeth and is custom-fitted by your dentist. There are actually more than 100 different appliances approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which makes it easy to find one suited to your personal circumstances. While it may take a few visits to get a perfect fit, an oral appliance delivers a simple fix for a serious problem. An oral appliance works without all the bulky equipment and there is no need for electricity. An oral appliance is small enough to fit in your pocket. Using it is straightforward. All you have to do is pop it in your mouth at bedtime. You can even drink or talk while wearing it. As a result, using an oral appliance to treat sleep apnea delivers comfort and convenience that a CPAP machine simply can’t match.
Seeking Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Are you currently using a CPAP machine and want to explore new options for sleep apnea therapy? If you’re interested in treating sleep apnea with an oral appliance, then give us a call. Wekiva Dental’s Dr. Offenback can offer first-hand insights. After being diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. O. began using an oral appliance. Now, he’s happy to offer his patients the benefit of his own professional and personal experiences with these devices. To schedule a consultation, contact Wekiva Dental today at 407-869-7333. You owe it to yourself to see if an oral appliance can replace your CPAP machine.