CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is the most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). It is also the nemesis of countless apnea patients. Thankfully, it is not the only option. Willoughby Hills, OH patients turn to experienced sleep dentist Dr. Stern for effective alternatives to CPAP.
What’s the problem with CPAP?
In effectiveness, CPAP rates highly, in patient satisfaction, the opposite is true. In fact, many studies have found that well over half of all patients stop using CPAP, or don’t use it regularly. Some of the most common reasons cited include:
- The mask is uncomfortable, even with nasal pillows
- The machine is noisy, and it is cumbersome when traveling
- Forced air is uncomfortable or intolerable
- Some people are allergic to the masks
- Difficulty sleeping while using CPAP – average nightly use averages around 4 ½ hours
- Nasal congestion, allergies, and similar symptoms
Exploring your options
Not everyone experiences the above problems with CPAP. However, if you are among those who can’t tolerate CPAP or APAP (Auto Positive Airway Pressure), you are probably looking at several alternatives. It is important to be careful when choosing.
Over the counter products such as Provent therapy, Provent nasal strips, or a chin strap for sleep apnea might be tempting, but they are suboptimal for many reasons. First, of all, when considering any medical or dental device, a mass-produced product is rarely the best choice. Everybody is different, quite literally, and a proper fit requires customization. “One size fits all” usually means that it fits no one perfectly.
For a safe, reliable alternative to CPAP that is customized to your needs, Dr. Stern recommends oral appliance therapy. This treatment involves only a small, discreet, appliance, which is somewhat similar to a mouthguard. It is worn nightly to support the 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.
Who is a good candidate for an oral/dental device?
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 apnea, and cannot tolerate CPAP
- Use CPAP, but need a convenient alternative when traveling
- Do not have apnea, but want effective relief from snoring
- Want a solution that will fit in a pocket, and feels comfortable when worn
- Want to sleep through the night, and feel great in the morning
If you think a sleep apnea or snoring appliance may be right for you, come see Dr. Stern for a free consultation at Snoring & CPAP Solutions LLC in Willoughby Hills
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 Qualified member of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and holds more than 2 decades of experience in the field.
Dr. Michael Stern
Frequently Asked Questions
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure and this type of machine is commonly prescribed to treat sleep apnea. You’ll wear a mask over your mouth and nose that’s connected to the CPAP machine. Through this mask, air will be pushed into your throat to keep your airway from collapsing while you’re asleep.
Yes, oral appliances are a viable alternative to CPAP machines for many people. Oral appliances can be just as effective as CPAP for sleep apnea and they can also help stop snoring.
These devices are smaller and they’re created custom for your mouth, so they’re more comfortable. Oral appliances are easier to travel with and they won’t take up much room in your luggage or your bedroom.
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 cure the condition. But professional treatment aided by positive lifestyle changes can greatly improve your life and help you avoid serious health conditions.