For decades, people suffering from sleep apnea have had only one real option when it comes to treatment: a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine. The machine pumps oxygen through a hose and into a mask worn by the sleep apnea sufferer during sleep to promote healthier breathing habits when apneic episodes occur most: during sleep.
Although this treatment is highly effective, no treatment is effective when not used properly. Why do so many patients not use their CPAP machines properly? Because they hate them! Often the machines, especially the cheaper ones often covered by insurance, are bulky and loud. Many patients say the CPAP masks are so uncomfortable to wear and the sound is so annoying, they actually feel like they get less sleep. The idea of wearing this mask and using this machine every night for the rest of their lives is simply not something they even want to think about. Here are few more reasons patients hate their CPAP machines:
When nasal congestion occurs it’s almost impossible to use.
One-size-fits-all masks don’t comfortably fit all sizes.
They find it impossible to get used to the uncomfortable feeling of wearing something over their face during sleep.
They have nasal passage sensitivity.
Nosebleeds and excessive dryness of the nose can occur.
Claustrophobic patients don’t like things covering their face in any way.
When patients hate their CPAP therapy, that’s where oral appliance therapy comes in. Who would have thought that sleep apnea can actually be treated by a dental professional? It makes sense, though. When it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, the position of the jaw, tongue and anatomy of the throat all play a large role in symptoms.
Dental professionals are experts in these areas, and oral appliance therapy allows a solution for those who simply can’t stand the idea of using a CPAP machine for the rest of their lives.
In this sleep apnea therapy, an oral appliance is custom made for the patient and is similar to a mouth guard. It is worn at night during sleep and helps to keep the lower jaw forward so the airway can remain clear and breathing optimal.
For more information on oral appliance therapy as a supplement to CPAP therapy or as a replacement if you simply can’t stand your machine, call us today at 541-382-6565.