Why Do People Seek CPAP Alternatives?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask is known as the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It draws in air and pressurizes it to deliver an adequate amount of humidified air through your lungs to clear the obstruction that’s stopping your breathing.
CPAP are an ideal treatment for many sleep apnea sufferers, yet others dislike using them at all. In fact, as many as 4 in 5 people do not use their CPAP machines for the recommended amount of time. Most patients find the mask and air pressure uncomfortable, noisy, and bulky, resulting in stopping their treatment altogether.
Imagine if you didn’t constantly snore at night and could wake up feeling revitalized and ready for the day. Imagine if you didn’t have to go to bed with an invasive mask on your face that impedes your relationship. With advancements in dentistry, we can offer you alternatives to CPAP and provide you with a customized solution that helps you attain a full night’s rest– without interruptions.
Oral Appliances & Their Benefits
Here at our Waxahachie office, we can provide you with a more comfortable alternative to CPAP. As a certified sleep dentist, Dr. Clinton can custom-craft an oral appliance to help relieve your sleep apnea symptoms and reduce snoring.
Also known as a ‘mandibular advancement appliance,’ ‘snore guard’, or ‘mouthpiece,’ this personalized solution is smaller, more comfortable, easy-to-use, and portable. The appliance fits precisely onto your teeth and works to gently move your jaw forward, just enough to clear the obstruction that is stopping you from sleeping properly.
An oral appliance has become a favored method of treatment by many of our patients because of its ability to help a variety of problems based on what’s right for you and your unique characteristics. For example, we have solutions that are better for patients who grind their teeth, while we recommend a different appliance altogether for patients who suffer from nasal complications.
It’s important to know that CPAP and oral appliances aren’t mutually incompatible. It’s actually common for patients to use both if they suffer from severe sleep apnea.
What’s great about the oral appliance is that it’s relatively inexpensive and affordable. Many patients use a CPAP machine at home and will take their oral appliance with them while traveling; they also use mouthpieces as a backup when their CPAP is undergoing maintenance.
Ideal for patients with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, it makes sense to explore your options — an oral appliance just might be the preferable, more comfortable solution. It also helps those who snore but don’t necessarily have sleep apnea. Remember, your snoring doesn’t just affect you, it impairs your partner’s quality of sleep as well.
Other Alternatives to CPAP
Alleviating your symptoms of sleep apnea can often come down to lifestyle choices. Even if you’re being treated with a CPAP or an oral device, making certain changes can minimize the effects of sleep apnea even further.
Additional ways you can reduce your sleep apnea symptoms include:
- Lose Weight: Overweight patients who have sleep apnea can lose their excess weight by altering their diet plans and exercising regularly to help diminish their symptoms.
- Tobacco & Alcohol Consumption: If you smoke, quitting smoking can make a large impact on your sleep apnea. Likewise, reducing the consumption of alcohol and the use of sleeping pills, as well as other sedatives, can help.
- Positional Therapy: Depending on the type and source of sleep apnea, training yourself to sleep on your side can help. There are also throat exercises you can practice to help to tone the muscles along your airway passage.
- Surgery: A number of surgeries are also available, including nasal surgery, adenoidectomies, maxillomandibular advancement surgery, and tracheostomy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do patients dislike the CPAP machine?
CPAP stands for continuous passive airway pressure. It works by increasing the pressure in your throat to prevent the airway from collapsing. While some people choose to use a CPAP machine to treat OSA, it can be a nuisance.
A CPAP machine requires that you wear an oxygen mask that’s attached to a console through a tube and it has to be plugged in. A CPAP machine is difficult to travel with and comes with a host of side effects and disadvantages including:
- Keeping the device clean
- Difficulty tolerated forced air
- Dry or stuffy nose
- Feeling claustrophobic
- Skin irritation or pressure sores
- Difficulty falling asleep for you and your sleep partner
The many disadvantages of wearing a CPAP machine may be the reason why 40% of people don’t initiate treatment or they don’t get their medication refilled and stop using the machine altogether.