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How is Oral Appliance Therapy Different From Wearing a CPAP Machine?

Oral Appliance TherapyHave you considered using oral appliance therapy instead of a CPAP machine?  If you have sleep apnea and are currently treating it with a CPAP, we are confident that your energy levels are far better than before you began treatment, that is if you are using  your CPAP on a nightly basis.  The challenge we have seen is that many people don’t enjoy using the machine and only use it now and then or place it on the shelf as a result.

Life with a CPAP Machine

Using a CPAP machine requires commitment.  It is large, bulky, uncomfortable, and noisy.  Many of our patients complain that it makes it difficult for their partner to sleep in the same bed with them due to how distracting it is.  Others find that they simply can’t sleep with something attached to their face.  Understandably, it takes time to get used to using a device of this nature so you may need to use it consistently for a few weeks before really knowing if it will work for you on a regular basis.  However, if you are confident that a CPAP simply isn’t for you, we have a solution that could be.

Life with Oral Appliance Therapy

An oral appliance is much easier to wear than it is to use a CPAP machine.  When doing so, you can get typically get rid of the loud and bulky machine.  There is no tubing to worry about, and nothing is attached to your face.  Instead, you simply place something inside of your mouth that resembles a full retainer.  It is small, portable, makes no noise, and is discreet. This makes it easy to travel with an oral appliance and to sleep in the same bed as your partner again.

How to Use Oral Appliance Therapy

If you are interested in trying it, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with our sleep clinic.  We will examine you, discuss your sleep apnea and determine whether or not we need our own sleep study or can use your previous results.  Based on that information, we can make a recommendation regarding whether you can use the oral appliance by itself or if you should use it and the CPAP machine together.

In order create your appliance, we will make an impression of your mouth and take measurements.  This is to ensure that it fits perfectly.  The dental lab will then create the removable appliance so that it will fit securely around your upper and lower teeth.  What makes it different from a retainer is that the two pieces attach to hold your jaw in place while you sleep.  This is how it treats your sleep apnea.  Obstructive sleep apnea happens when your lower jaw muscles are not strong enough to hold your jaw in place, and so it falls backwards while you sleep.  Your tongue will fall with it, obstructing your airways.  This makes it difficult to breathe, hence the obstructive sleep apnea.  When you wear the oral appliance, your jaw is held in place, your tongue remains in a forward position and you can breathe clearly as you sleep.

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