Have you had a diagnosis of sleep apnea? If so, you might be looking for treatment options. It’s important to receive effective treatment to reduce the health risks of untreated sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can increase the risk of chronic diseases that include diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. Fragmented sleep as a result of lapses in breathing during the night also makes it harder for men and women to perform their job. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of having a car or accident at work.
Let’s talk about sleep apnea treatments.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure)
CPAP is a common sleep apnea treatment. A CPAP machine uses air pressure through a tube. The patient wears a mask during sleep and air is forced into the windpipe. The forced air keeps the windpipe open to prevent lapses in breathing.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
A lesser-known but highly effective sleep apnea treatment is oral appliance therapy. This treatment uses an oral device custom fit by a sleep medicine dentist. The device is worn at night. It physically moves the lower jaw forward. This opens the airway causing a free flow of air. There are advantages to using an oral device over CPAP.
What are the advantages of OAT for sleep apnea treatment?
1. An oral appliance is easier to travel with
When traveling with a CPAP machine, you have to make sure that you have the proper electrical cords and adapters. Typically the machine is stored as carry-on baggage to avoid damage during flight. An oral device can be stored in a small retainer case. It fits in a purse or briefcase.
2. An oral appliance doesn’t need as much maintenance
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.
3. CPAP can cause as many sleeping problems as it is supposed to solve
Some patients don’t tolerate the CPAP apparatus. The face mask and noise of the machine can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. CPAP users who move around a lot during sleep can get tangled in the tubing.
Patients can easily insert an oral device. The majority of users report that oral devices are comfortable. An oral device is custom-fit to the mouth and jaw. Individuals who feel claustrophobic when using CPAP masks often an oral appliance. When wearing an oral device, your nose and mouth are free and uncovered.
4. OAT can be more cost-effective
Oral devices are often less expensive than CPAP. For men and women 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 a dental treatment for sleep apnea, call Houston Sleep Solutions at the number below.
Oral appliance therapy can help you and your bed partner finally enjoy quality sleep.
Houston Sleep Solutions treats obstructive sleep apnea
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) conducted by a dentist can be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved OAT in the following circumstances:
- As a first-line treatment for individuals with mild to moderate OSA
- As a first-line treatment for individuals with severe OSA who are unable to use CPAP devices
- As a combination of therapy (using CPAP and an oral appliance together)
A diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea must be made by a physician. If the physician recommends oral appliance therapy, he or she will refer the patient to a dentist who is trained in treating sleep disorders. At Houston Sleep Solutions, we provide oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea. Call 281-485-4829 to set up a consultation at Houston Sleep Solutions.
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