If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, you’ve probably heard about continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment. This is often the first type of treatment you’re asked to try, but it’s frequently unsuccessful.
With the continuous air pressure emitted by the machine, CPAP can be difficult for many people to use, since it can be noisy and uncomfortable. In fact, it’s very common for patients to use the mask for just a few hours a night or to completely stop using it because of the issues it causes. As a result, non-compliant CPAP users still suffer from snoring associated with obstructive sleep apnea, as well as daytime fatigue. To make matters worse, patients are still subjected to all the health risks of OSA, including high blood pressure and heart attack.
The good news is that CPAP is not the only nonsurgical sleep apnea treatment. In this blog, the Philadelphia snoring and sleep apnea specialist at eos dental sleep will explain the benefits of oral appliance therapy as a CPAP alternative.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is a nonsurgical sleep apnea treatment that involves using a custom-fit oral appliance. It’s an effective treatment that’s much more convenient than using a CPAP machine, so it’s frequently seen as an appealing CPAP alternative.
Oral appliance therapy is well suited for patients whose tongue falls back into their airway at night, obstructing their breathing. The device helps move the jaw forward, increasing the size of the upper airway and reducing air resistance that leads to sleep apnea and snoring.
What are the advantages of oral appliance therapy?
This CPAP alternative has numerous advantages, which include:
- Comfort: Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most patients have a much easier and faster time adjusting to an oral appliance, as compared to CPAP.
- Non-invasive: It’s a non-invasive form of snoring and sleep apnea therapy. No surgery is involved, and the process of being fitted is quick and easy.
- Effective: The treatment is highly effective, significantly improving sleep apnea symptoms including oxygen saturation and daytime sleepiness.
- Easy to transport: The device is small and convenient for travel. You won’t have any bulky tubes or equipment to worry about.
- High success rate: This CPAP alternative has an excellent success rate. Some CPAP users have trouble tolerating forced air and can feel uncomfortable and claustrophobic in the mask. CPAP may also cause issues such as a dry, stuffy nose or a rash around the mask area. All of these issues are avoided with oral appliance therapy.
What are the different types of oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance devices can be classified into two separate categories:
- Tongue retaining device (TRD) – This device works like a splint, holding the tongue in place and helping to keep the airway open.
- Mandibular (jawbone) advancement device (MAD) – This device gently forces the lower jaw slightly forward and down, helping to keep the airway open.
Am I a candidate for oral appliance therapy?
You might qualify for oral appliance therapy if your snoring or sleep apnea is primarily caused by one or more of the following factors:
- A narrow airway
- A large tongue
- A tongue with poor muscle tone that is prone to falling back into the throat during sleep
If this type of treatment is appropriate for you, your doctor will first take impressions of your teeth. These molds will be used to create a custom-fitted appliance to address your specific issues and perfectly fit your mouth. You’ll also be given instructions on how to use and care for the device.
Where can I find this CPAP alternative in Philadelphia?
At eos dental sleep, we specialize in oral appliance therapy for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea without the use of the CPAP mask. We have treated many patients who have unsuccessfully tried CPAP, finding it too cumbersome and uncomfortable to use.
After a thorough examination, our specialist will determine if an oral appliance will help alleviate your sleep apnea and snoring and then he will select the type of appliance that will best suit your specific needs. Schedule a consultation at our Center City, Philadelphia office today to learn more about oral appliance therapy as a CPAP alternative. You can also get started by filling out the appointment request form right on this page.