Sleep apnea is a medical condition that can be treated through oral appliance therapy as well as CPAP machines. Both forms of treatment have been proven successful, which is why they are both highly recommended. However, both methods are also quite different, which is why it is necessary to be aware of how both work. Oral…
CPAP Alternatives: Oral Appliance Options
CPAP alternatives that may be a good option for you if you suffer from sleep pnea. The first alternative to looking into would be an oral appliance. These appliances are designed to keep the airway open during sleep and should help with snoring as well as breathing difficulties. This article will cover three different types of oral appliances, including mandibular advancement devices, tongue retaining devices, and dental implants.
What is an oral appliance?
An oral appliance is a device that holds the jaw in a slightly forward position during sleep. This helps keep the airway open and allows for unobstructed breathing.
Types of appliances
Mandibular advancement devices are designed to push the lower jaw forward, opening the airway for uninterrupted breathing. Tongue retaining devices are designed to hold the tongue in place, preventing it from blocking the airway. Dental implants are small titanium anchors that are inserted into the upper or lower jaw to help keep the jaw forward during sleep.
How do they work?
The three types of CPAP alternatives work in slightly different ways. Mandibular advancement devices come in a variety of sizes and use a strap to hold the mouth closed while you sleep. Tongue retaining devices often look like sports mouth guards and hold the tongue forward using suction or by applying slight pressure to the tongue with a small bulb. Dental implants are anchored into the jaw and have a screw that moves forward when you sleep.
How effective are they?
Oral appliances are 90% effective in treating mild to moderate OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). They can be used alone or in conjunction with other devices such as CPAP machines or surgical options. Many people find it very easy to use oral appliances and find that they benefit from increased energy and concentration.
How long do CPAP alternatives last?
Oral appliances should not be considered a permanent solution, rather as a temporary aid in the treatment of OSA. The main issue with using an oral appliance is that people often feel that they cannot sleep without it. Patients who use oral appliances may find that they need to continue using them after the OSA returns.
Are there any side effects?
It is possible to bruise or cut your tongue if you are using a tongue retaining device, so this must be used with caution and only as recommended. Some patients report soreness in their jaw muscles after using an oral appliance. If you have dental implants, there is a possibility of the implant shifting and causing discomfort.
Why use CPAP alternatives instead of CPAP machines?
CPAP machines are the gold standard in treatment for OSA. The downside to this device is that it can be very difficult to use, and it is a rather large machine that makes noise while you sleep. CPAP machines must also be used every night. Oral appliances can be great CPAP alternatives if you have difficulty using a CPAP machine or if you are looking into a temporary solution.
Are they easy to find?
Oral appliances can be found at most sleep clinics, and many dental sleep apnea dentists will recommend them as well. They can also be found online, although it is always best to consult your doctor first if you are thinking of using one of these devices.
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