CPAP vs Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
Sleep apnea is primarily treated with two very different devices. A CPAP machine uses air pressure through a tube. The patient wears a mask during sleep and air is forced through the obstruction. An oral device used in OAT physically moves the lower jaw forward. This opens the airway causing a free flow of air. There are benefits in using an oral device over CPAP.
The CPAP machine can be a bother to travel with. You have to be certain that you have the proper electrical cords and adapters. Typically the machine is stored as carry-on baggage to avoid damage during flight. On the other hand, an oral device is stored in a small retainer case. It can be carried in a purse or briefcase.
CPAP machines require filters and occasional repair. An oral device can be a temporary substitute for a CPAP that is being repaired. For daily care, a mouthpiece is also easy to care for as compared to tubing and a mask. CPAP machine parts require regular rinsing and occasionally must be replaced.
The CPAP device is often not tolerated favorably. The face mask and noise of the machine can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Patients can easily insert an oral device. The vast majority of patients report that oral devices are comfortable. An oral device is custom-fit to your mouth and jaw. Individuals who feel claustrophobic when using CPAP masks often an oral device because it doesn’t cover the nose or mouth. When wearing an oral device, your nose and mouth are free to breathe room air.
Oral devices are often more affordable than CPAP. For individuals who are paying out of pocket, this cost savings can make a huge difference. Both devices are generally covered by medical insurance. There may be an out-of-pocket cost depending on your insurance plan.
If you have trouble tolerating CPAP therapy or want to learn more about an alternate treatment for sleep apnea, call Houston Sleep Solutions at the number below.
Oral appliance therapy can help you and your bed partner finally enjoy healthy sleep.
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