CPAP Isn’t the Only Solution
CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) is a type of machine that’s commonly prescribed to treat sleep apnea. The patient wears a mask over the nose and mouth that’s connected to the CPAP machine.
Through this mask, air is pushed into the throat to keep the airway from collapsing during sleep. While CPAP is highly effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) when used correctly and consistently, some patients find it invasive and uncomfortable to use.
Some patients report the following complaints:
- The mask is uncomfortable, even with nasal pillows
- The machine is noisy, and it’s cumbersome when traveling
- Forced air is uncomfortable or intolerable
- Some people are allergic to the masks
- Difficulty sleeping while using CPAP with nightly averages around 4½ hours
- Nasal congestion, allergies, and similar symptoms
While not everyone experiences the above problems with CPAP, many patients who do may stop using CPAP altogether, significantly hindering their treatment. If you’re among those who can’t tolerate CPAP or APAP (Auto Positive Airway Pressure), you’re probably looking for an alternative.
It’s important to be careful when choosing. Thankfully, CPAP is not the only option for treating sleep apnea, and Lake County, OH patients can turn to experienced sleep dentist Dr. Stern for effective CPAP alternatives.
WHAT WE DO
CPAP Alternative: Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT)
Snoring and CPAP Solutions LLC
Snoring and CPAP Solutions LLC is committed to helping patients with sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea that interferes with their day to day life. Dr. Stern is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine and holds more than 2 decades of experience in the field.
Dr. Michael Stern
Exploring Your CPAP Alternative Options
Over-the-counter products such as Provent Therapy, Provent nasal strips, or a chin strap for sleep apnea might be tempting, but they might not be the most effective options for many reasons. When considering any medical or dental device, a mass-produced product is rarely the best choice. “One size fits all” usually means that it fits no one perfectly. Everybody is different and a proper fit requires customization.
For a safe, reliable alternative to CPAP that’s customized to meet your needs, Dr. Stern recommends oral appliance therapy. These devices are a convenient and minimally invasive solution for snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea.
This treatment involves only a small, discreet appliance, which is similar to a mouthguard. It’s worn nightly to support your jaw, preventing it from moving back during sleep. This helps hold the airway open, so that you can breathe easily, naturally, and without a machine. With the help of an oral appliance, you can finally enjoy the quality sleep you need.
Oral appliances are a viable alternative to CPAP machines for many people. They can be just as effective for relieving sleep apnea and can also help stop snoring. These devices are small and custom-made for your mouth to ensure maximum comfort. Oral appliances are also easier to travel with, as they won’t take up much room in your luggage or your bedroom.
Candidacy For Oral Appliances
If you want to improve your quality of sleep and quality of life, oral appliance therapy may be right for you. The best candidates are typically people who:
- Have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and cannot tolerate CPAP
- Use CPAP, but need a convenient alternative when traveling
- Don’t have sleep apnea, but want effective relief from snoring
- Want a solution that will fit in their pocket and feel comfortable when worn
- Want to sleep through the night and feel great in the morning
Lifestyle Changes to Help With Symptoms
While sleep apnea isn’t a disease that’s genetically inherited, you may inherit a smaller airway which could increase your chances of developing sleep apnea. A smaller airway determines if an individual is more inclined to have a collapsed airway while sleeping. It’s important to remember that sleep apnea is just the closing of an airway while an individual sleeps, creating a partial or complete blockage.
In addition to your oral appliance therapy, Dr. Stern can also help develop a lifestyle plan to aid in alleviating your symptoms. Changing your sleep position to a side-lying position, reducing your alcohol and tobacco consumption, and reducing excess weight can help reduce your symptoms.
That being said, sleep apnea is often treated, not cured. While it may be possible for some people to cure their sleep apnea through weight loss or surgery, most treatments won’t permanently cure the condition. But professional treatment aided by positive lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your symptoms and help you avoid developing other serious health conditions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some patients report mild muscle soreness in the mornings, especially for the first few days. Most people adjust to wearing the appliance within about ten days, and find it to be very comfortable. They’re considered safe and effective, with over 100 appliances having earned FDA clearance.
We test the effectiveness of oral appliance therapy with a follow-up sleep test. The results are then compared to those of the pre-treatment test to measure improvement. If you have any questions about the effectiveness of your oral appliance, please call our Lake County office at (440) 833-6008).