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

Sleep ApneaHave 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 our dental office in Tucson has seen is that many people do not 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 cannot sleep with something attached to their face. Understandably, it takes a while for one to adjust to using a device of this nature. Therefore, patients may need to use it consistently for a few weeks before really knowing if it will work on a regular basis. However, if patients are confident that a CPAP is not the right choice, we have a solution that can 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, an individual can get typically get rid of the loud and bulky machine. There is no tubing to worry about, and nothing is attached to the face. Instead, one simply places something inside of the mouth that resembles a full retainer. It is small, portable, makes no noise, and is discreet. Oral appliance therapy makes it easy to travel with an oral appliance and to sleep in the same bed as one's partner again.

How to Use Oral Appliance Therapy

For any patients who are curious about oral appliance therapy, we recommend calling our dental office at (520) 368-3351 to schedule an appointment. We will examine the patient's teeth, discuss sleep apnea and determine whether or not we need our own sleep study in order to determine if the patient has sleep apnea. Depending on that information, we can make a recommendation regarding whether the patient can use the oral appliance by itself or if the patient needs to use it along with the CPAP machine.

In order create your appliance, we will make an impression of your mouth and take measurements to ensure a perfect fit. The dental lab will then create the removable appliance so that it will fit 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. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when your lower jaw muscles are not strong enough to hold your jaw in place, and so it falls backward while you sleep. Your tongue will fall with it, obstructing your airways and making 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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