Patients who want an alternative to CPAP devices should explore options in oral appliance therapy. Most patients who make the switch report a major improvement in their quality of life, and they get all of the benefits of effective sleep apnea treatment.
The airway obstructions caused by sleep apnea occur when tissues near the airway opening go slack during sleep and block that opening. Oral appliance therapy combats this by holding the tongue or the jaw in a forward position, eliminating the possibility that those tissues will cover up the airway opening. The oral appliance is similar to a mouthguard or bite splint worn at night. Furthermore, the device is custom-designed to the patient’s unique specifications, which also maximizes comfort. Many patients do get relief from sleep apnea symptoms and effects with oral appliance therapy, and the compliance rate is much higher than with a CPAP mask, which also improves the effectiveness of this method.
CPAP and Oral appliance therapy differ in significant ways. The CPAP mask forces air into the airway in order to keep it open. An oral appliance adjusts the positioning of the jaw or tongue to reduce the likelihood of an airway obstruction during sleep. The CPAP covers a sizeable portion of the patient’s face and can make them feel uncomfortable or even claustrophobic, while an oral appliance is worn inside of the patient’s mouth and is much more tolerable. The CPAP device is also inconvenient for travel, while an oral appliance can be easily stowed into a patient’s luggage.
Sleep apnea has a number of serious consequences for your quality of life and your health. You may often feel fatigued or moody if you have sleep apnea, and you can frequently suffer headaches or sore throats in the morning after you wake up. Furthermore, sleep apnea is associated with an increased risk of conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and type 2 diabetes, among others. Therefore, if you have sleep apnea, it is essential for you to get treatment that you’ll actually comply with.
If you’re fed up with your CPAP device, schedule a consultation at our office to learn more about the benefits of oral appliance therapy and see if this treatment method might be effective at addressing your sleep apnea.