CPAP vs. Oral Appliance Therapy–What’s the Difference?

Categories: Sleep Disorders

cpap vs oral applianceSCOTTS VALLEY, SANTA CRUZ, CA

If you have obstructive sleep apnea or are seeking a diagnosis for this common sleep-breathing disorder, you might already be aware that a CPAP or continuous positive airway pressure machine is often prescribed as treatment. The problem is that many sleep apnea patients that use a CPAP eventually discontinue its use, citing the mask is uncomfortable, the machine is noisy, and that the unit is too difficult to maintain. That does not mean you have to leave your sleep apnea untreated and risk the health dangers that go along with ignoring a sleep-breathing disorder. Therefore, our Scotts Valley airway dentists offer oral appliance therapy to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. Today on the blog, find out the difference between a CPAP and oral appliance therapy and decide which one may be the right fit for you.

What is a CPAP machine?

A CPAP machine requires electricity to function. It has a hose connected to it on one end, with a mask on the other. The mask is worn over the nose and mouth while sleeping, as the machine forces air into the lungs, preventing sleep apnea events, snoring, and pauses in breathing. The machine is calibrated to fit your unique breathing needs. CPAP machines have been the gold standard of treatment for sleep apnea, but unfortunately, there are many downsides.

CPAP users often complain that wearing the mask is uncomfortable and may leave scratches or marks on their faces. Additionally, CPAP machines require regular cleaning to prevent mold and mildew buildup and reduce bacteria on the face mask. Another complaint of CPAP users is that the machine is noisy. So, if you have a partner that shares a bed with you, your machine could be hindering their sleep at night! Lastly, CPAP machines are not convenient when traveling or staying the night away from home. You have to ensure you have access to a plug near your bed (forget camping!) and room in your luggage to pack the machine. According to reports, traveling without your CPAP could be dangerous for your health, including an increased risk of a sudden stroke, heart attack, or death.

The good news is that oral appliance therapy is an alternative to managing sleep apnea.

What is oral appliance therapy?

Made from custom impressions of your mouth, an oral appliance for managing sleep apnea is comfortable, convenient, and effective. In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the airway collapses during sleep, restricting airflow. Therefore, the purpose of wearing an oral appliance is to prevent soft tissue blockages in the airway. The oral appliance is worn during sleep. It holds the lower jaw in a comfortable position and encourages the tongue to rest along the roof of the mouth instead of sliding back toward the throat and blocking airflow. As a result, the airway remains open, snoring is reduced or ceases entirely, and sleep apnea is managed without needing a noisy CPAP machine.

There are several advantages of oral appliance therapy. Maintaining your oral appliance is easy. Clean it each morning and store it in the protective case provided to you. It is also convenient to take your oral appliance with you when traveling because it fits in your overnight bag. Plus, the best part is that wearing an oral appliance does not disrupt your partner’s sleep!

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Scotts Valley, Los Gatos, and Santa Cruz

Oral appliance therapy is proven to be an effective treatment for mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. If you believe that you could benefit from a consultation with our airway dentists in Scotts Valley or want to explore natural ways to treat sleep apnea in Los Gatos, call Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411.