What are the Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy as a CPAP Alternative?
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, it can be stressful to find the treatment option that’s best for you.
The most common type of treatment is probably the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It’s often the first choice of treatment for many patients, but it’s frequently unsuccessful. The machine emits continuous air pressure that many people find to be uncomfortable and noisy. It’s very common for patients to use the mask for just a few hours a night or to stop using it entirely because of the issues it causes for themselves as well as their bed partners.
As a result, patients who have stopped using their CPAP machines or use them only intermittently continue to suffer from snoring associated with obstructive sleep apnea, as well as daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
What is oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is a non-surgical sleep apnea treatment that involves wearing a custom-fit oral appliance only at night. Similar to a mouth guard, this type of treatment is quite effective and much more convenient than using a CPAP machine. It’s frequently seen as an appealing alternative to CPAP, especially for patients who have tried CPAP but have been unable to tolerate it.
Oral appliance therapy is well suited for patients whose tongue falls back into their airway at night, obstructing their breathing. The device helps gently move the jaw forward, increasing the size of the upper airway. This helps reduce air resistance that leads to snoring and sleep apnea.
What are the advantages of oral appliance therapy?
Oral appliance therapy has numerous advantages, such as:
- Comfort: Oral appliances are custom-made, so they’re 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 or complicated procedure is involved, and the process of getting fitted is quick and easy.
- Effective: Oral appliance therapy is highly effective, significantly improving sleep apnea symptoms, improving oxygen saturation and decreasing daytime sleepiness.
- Easy to transport: In contrast to CPAP, there’s no bulky machine and equipment to worry about transporting. An oral appliance is small and easy to take with you when you travel.
- Easy to care for: An oral appliance is easy to keep clean. The mask, tubes, and other components of a CPAP machine are harder to properly care for.
- High success rate: This CPAP alternative has an excellent success rate. Some CPAP users have trouble tolerating the 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 or irritation around the mask area. All of these issues are avoided with oral appliance therapy.
Am I am 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 that addresses your specific issues and perfectly fits your mouth.
Where can I find oral appliance therapy as a CPAP alternative?
At the Boston Center for Oral Health, we specialize in oral appliance therapy for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea without the use of the CPAP mask. We have successfully treated many patients who have been unable to use CPAP because they find it too cumbersome and uncomfortable to use.
If you live in the Boston area and are looking to get more information or schedule your consultation for oral appliance therapy as a CPAP alternative, the Boston Center for Oral Health is here to help.
You can get started by filling out the schedule appointment form right on this page or by contacting our office. We look forward to helping you achieve the restful and restorative night’s sleep that you’ve been missing.