Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance vs. CPAP

Sleep Apnea Dental Appliance vs. CPAP

Jul 01, 2022

According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 18 million Americans deal with sleep apnea regularly. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep syndrome where your breathing stops when sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea has two main types: obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and happens when the throat muscles relax too much, blocking the airway and interrupting normal breathing. The tongue can fall back into the throat in other cases, blocking the airflow. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to send the appropriate signals to the muscles that control breathing.

Common signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness
  • Frequent nighttime awakenings
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Waking up with a dry mouth
  • Wakening with a sore throat
  • Gasping for air or choking during sleep
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Mood disturbances like anxiety or depression
  • Cognitive impairments like trouble concentrating, Irritability, forgetfulness

Contact Complete Health Dentistry of the Emerald Coast or visit a dentist near you for treatment if you experience these or other related symptoms.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

While there are many ways to manage or treat sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and dental devices are the most commonly used therapies. Whichever treatment your dentist recommends will depend on your condition and needs.

CPAP for Sleep Apnea

CPAP is a highly effective therapy for obstructive sleep apnea. Since an obstruction in the airway causes OSA, a CPAP machine provides a constant stream of air down the throat, preventing blockage and sleep apnea. Along with preventing sleep apnea, a CPAP machine improves your sleep quality and combats snoring. CPAP machines are for severe cases of sleep apnea or when the condition won’t respond to other oral devices.

The only major downside with a CPAP machine is that it may take time to adapt to sleeping with the machine. Usually, the machine sits on a nightstand. A large tube connects to the machine. On the other side, the tube connects to a mask that fits over your mouth and nose. Apart from causing discomfort, some patients complain about nasal congestion, nosebleeds, stomach bloating, chest discomfort, dry mouth, and feelings of confinement.

Oral Devices for Sleep Apnea

Your dentist can recommend a customized oral device for mild to moderate sleep apnea. An oral appliance for sleep apnea is a small device that resembles a sports mouthguard. The device repositions your jaw to prevent your tongue and other tissues from falling back and blocking your airway.

The oral devices fit snugly in your mouth without causing discomfort or difficulties breathing or speaking. While you can get generic mouthguards, a custom-made device is better for maximum quality, comfort, efficiency, and durability. Contact our dentist for customized sleep apnea dental appliance near you.

Which is the Better Option?

Your dentist or sleep doctor is the only sure way to know which treatment is right for you. Therefore, they are familiar with sleep apnea and these treatments and can give an objective recommendation. Other factors to consider can include:

  • Since oral devices are more compact, easy to use, and clean, many patients find them more convenient than CPAP machines.
  • The severity of the condition. CPAP machines are more for all types of sleep apnea, while oral devices can only help with mild to moderate sleep apnea.
  • Comfort. A CPAP machine is somehow uncomfortable for many patients due to the tubes and masks. An oral device is more comfortable to use.
  • Consistency is key when it comes to sleep apnea treatments. Be sure to ask yourself which treatment you’re more likely to use consistently.

Alternative Treatments

Along with oral appliances and CPAP therapy, your doctor or dentist can recommend other treatments like:

  • Quit smoking.
  • Lose weight for overweight or obese individuals.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Take alcohol in moderation.
  • Sleep on the side.
  • Keep your head elevated when sleeping.
  • Use a nasal decongestant and allergy medication.
  • Don’t drink before bed.
  • Avoid taking sedative medications like sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs.

If these treatments don’t effectively improve your condition, your doctor or dentist can recommend more advanced treatments like surgery. Contact our dentist for CPAP machines and sleep apnea dental appliances in Shalimar, FL.

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