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CPAP or Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea?
A board-certified dental sleep medicine practitioner can help you treat your sleep apnea. Sleeping disorders such as sleep apnea can affect your quality of life. They can keep you awake at night or cause side effects due to poor sleep. Luckily, dental sleep medicine offers treatment that can ease your troubles. Yet, choosing between the various options can be difficult.
Sleep-related breathing disorders
Different factors can result in difficulty sleeping. It can be an uncomfortable mattress or an actual sleeping disorder. Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder that often goes undiagnosed. It is mainly characterized by pauses in breathing while asleep. If not appropriately treated, sleep apnea can become a serious condition.
Dealing with sleep apnea
There are three types of sleep apnea, but the most common type is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles supporting the back of the throat relax and partially block the airways. Each breath results in vibrations that cause almost all people with OSA to snore. Obstructive sleep apnea can be dangerous as limited oxygen enters the body. It also poses the risk of choking, snorting, and gasping when there is insufficient air.
The continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is a popular sleep-disorder treatment device. It deals with sleep apnea and prevents snoring by forcing oxygenated air through the airways. It also uses a mask that envelopes the nose or the mouth as well. Patients wear their CPAP masks while sleeping, and the machine pushes air at the right amount of pressure. This helps open the airways and prevent breathing difficulties caused by sleep apnea.
Board-certified dental sleep medicine dentists may prescribe CPAP machines in conjunction with an oral appliance as an effective treatment for sleep-related breathing disorders. Yet, the design of the CPAP machine is considerably bulky compared to other oral devices. Thus, patients using a CPAP machine for the first time might need to take their time getting used to wearing the mask at night. Also, buying a CPAP machine costs more than other oral appliance therapy options.
Oral appliance therapy
Oral appliance therapy is another recommended treatment option by dental sleep medicine. Unlike the CPAP machine worn on the face, oral appliances are devices placed in the mouth during sleep. The goal of these oral devices is to adjust the mouth’s structure to prevent blocking the airway. The tongue retaining and mandibular advancement devices are the most common oral tools for sleep apnea.
The tongue retaining device features a design that places the muscle forward. The patient places their tongue on the device and bites down to keep the guard in place. The mandibular advancement device features a mouthguard-like design. They are worn during sleep to keep the airway open by pushing the jaw forward.
Visit a board-certified dental sleep medicine dentist for a consultation
Dental sleep medicine views both CPAP and oral appliance therapy as effective. These prevent sleep apnea and stop snoring. A board-certified dental sleep medicine dentist can help you choose the suitable treatment for you. Yet, it often boils down to design and comfortability. Regardless, both options can significantly improve sleep and your quality of life.
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