Comparing CPAP and Oral Appliance Therapies

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that not only robs you of the restorative sleep you need but that also can lead to a wide range of health problems. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, talk to your dentist about treatment options. He or she may recommend CPAP treatment or oral appliance therapy to help you get the rest you need. Here is a closer look at how these two sleep apnea treatment options compare.

CPAP Therapy
Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy involves the use of a machine and mask system that uses forced air to keep your airway open. If successful, you won’t wake multiple times during the night with apnea episodes. Although CPAP therapy is almost always effective, some people don’t like the feeling of sleeping with a mask and/or the feeling of the forced air.

Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances are placed in the mouth and gently keep your lower jaw from falling back or sometimes gently push the lower jaw forward to help keep your airway open. Your dentist will create a customized oral appliance for you so that it fits comfortably in your mouth. You will wear the appliance over the teeth anytime you sleep.

Choosing a Treatment
Both CPAPs and oral appliances have pros and cons. Generally speaking CPAP therapy is effective for even the most severe cases of sleep apnea, but some people find them uncomfortable and experience sore throats and nasal dryness after using them. Oral appliances while often more comfortable and requiring less of an adjustment period are sometimes not as effective as CPAP.  Often it can be beneficial to use both a mouthpiece and CPAP together since if the mouthpiece is not fully effective by itself it can make the use of a CPAP much more comfortable.

John Carson, DDS has extensive training that allows him to partner with your Physician to help find the best solution for you. To make an appointment with our dentist in Tucson, please call (520) 514-7203.


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