Oral Appliance Therapy: A CPAP Alternative to Treat Snoring & Sleep Apnea in Boston
For many years, the initial treatment for sleep apnea and snoring has been the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. This device is just what it sounds like: a mask that you place over your nose and mouth that’s connected to a pump that sends a continuous flow of air into your mouth, nose and throat. This positively pressurized flow keeps the airway open and free of obstruction, allowing you to breathe normally during sleep.
Common Complaints about CPAP
The CPAP mask is a highly effective treatment for many, but it doesn’t suit everyone. In fact, a sizable percentage of sleep apnea sufferers and snorers end up not using the mask at all due to discomfort. There’s also a contingent of people who do not follow the treatment regimen as directed, making them “non-compliant” CPAP users.
People who dislike CPAP can be very vocal about why. It’s not hard to find online discussions about all of the treatment’s disadvantages, and the complaints, for these former users, are legitimate. CPAP problems often involve physical and emotional side effects such as:
- Distracting noises from the device, which can be just as troublesome as snoring in terms of interrupting sleep for both the CPAP user and his or her bed partner
- Skin irritation
- Physical discomfort from the mask and its straps
- Dryness and irritation in the nasal cavity, throat and mouth
- Runny nose
- Claustrophobic feelings and the impression of being suffocated when wearing the mask
If you are currently an unhappy CPAP user, these complaints may resonate with your own experience. But for those who suffer from a chronic snoring problem or sleep apnea and are not currently undergoing treatment, any of these complaints may be enough to make you think that the treatment for sleep apnea and snoring might be worse than simply muddling through with these conditions untreated. However, that’s not the case. And foregoing treatment for sleep apnea presents numerous health risks such as high blood pressure and increased chance of stroke, just to name a few.
Fortunately, Boston Center for Oral Health has another option to improve your quality of sleep. We are pleased to offer a CPAP alternative that can lessen or eliminate these undesirable CPAP side effects while considerably improving the symptoms of snoring and sleep apnea.
A More Comfortable Treatment and Better Sleep for You
If you’ve been suffering from snoring or sleep apnea or perhaps already been prescribed the CPAP mask, you may be a candidate for a CPAP alternative called oral appliance therapy.
Oral appliances are custom-made for your mouth, much like a nighttime mouth guard would be. You wear the appliance while you sleep, and the device works by repositioning the jaw and tissues in the mouth that are causing breathing obstruction to occur during your sleep.
The advantages of oral appliance therapy over CPAP masks are numerous and include:
- No skin irritation
- No forced air flow that can dry out oral and nasal tissues
- More portable to use – no pumps or motors to drag with you if you travel
- Not obvious to others when you’re wearing an appliance
Since the appliance goes in your mouth and not over your face, many patients find it to be a better non-invasive treatment option than CPAP. Like CPAP, oral appliance therapy is also a non-surgical snoring treatment.
Because the causes of sleep apnea and snoring can be so varied, you’ll need to see a dental sleep doctor for an evaluation to determine exactly what is causing your condition. Dr. Carmine Morreale will pinpoint your particular issue before determining which type of oral appliance will be best for you.
The most common types of oral appliance devices are tongue-retaining devices that focus on holding your tongue in place and mandibular advancement devices that reposition your jaw to open the airway.
Treat Your Sleep Apnea and Snoring in Boston Without the CPAP Mask
If you are suffering from chronic snoring or sleep apnea and looking for an alternative to CPAP, schedule an oral appliance therapy consultation at Boston Center for Oral Health by filling out the yellow form on this page or calling our office at (617) 536-4620. Since 1923, our practice located in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood has helped people with a wide range of dental and oral problems including snoring and sleep apnea. We look forward to helping you get the peaceful and restorative night’s sleep that you deserve.