How to Treat Sleep Apnea: CPAP vs. Oral Appliances

Sleep apnea is a common and easily treatable sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. Constricted airways typically cause these pauses.

Sleep apnea sufferers often sleep poorly, leaving them susceptible to a loss of focus and other sleep-related health issues. Many people who experience sleep apnea are often unaware of the nature of their condition, so a professional diagnosis is usually needed.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

Oral appliance therapy and CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy are the two main courses of treatment for sleep apnea. Dr. Kandar works one-on-one with patients to determine the best route for their treatment based on the severity of the condition and personal preference.

Positive Airway Pressure Devices

Individuals with CPAP therapy are fitted with a ventilator to wear while they sleep. The ventilator pushes a continuous stream of air through their nasal passages so that they remain open.

While CPAP therapy is highly effective, many patients are reluctant to try it, finding the ventilator’s mask uncomfortable and the noise from the machine bothersome. CPAP therapy typically behavioral changes in both the wearer and any sleeping partners.

Oral Appliances

Oral appliance therapy consists of a custom-fitted mouthguard that is worn during sleep. The mouthguard sets the patient’s jaw in a forward position, reducing the likelihood of blockages of the throat or nasal cavities.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

It’s easy to see why oral appliance therapy is the preferred treatment option for many sleep apnea sufferers. Compared to CPAP treatment, oral appliance therapy requires significantly less investment and doesn’t demand significant lifestyle changes.

Once fitted, this treatment option is as simple as wearing the mouthguard while you sleep. With the mouthguard keeping air passageways open, patients often experience sudden and marked improvement in sleep quality without having to adjust to a totally new sleep routine.

Custom Made Oral Appliances vs. "Boil and Bites"

There are two main methods of creating a sleep apnea mouthguard, the first is making an impression or scans of the inside of the mouth and having a custom mouthguard fabricated by a third party. The other method, sometimes called "boil-and-bite" mouthguards are made by first submerging the mouthguard in boiling water and then biting down to create a custom-fit appliance.

When it comes to oral appliance therapy, custom mouthguards will always be the best option. A custom mouthguard from Dr. Kandar will be specifically tailored to your mouth, ensuring a perfect fit.

The process of fitting a boil-and-bite mouthguard results in a less exact fit, limiting the treatment’s effectiveness.

Adjusting to Oral Appliance Therapy

Effective oral appliance therapy requires a well-fitting mouthguard and the commitment to continue wearing it every night even if you find it uncomfortable.

Some patients report side effects like shifting teeth, posterior teeth not touching while chewing, and TMJ disorders after starting to wear an oral appliance. Should you experience any of these side effects, notify Dr. Kandar and the team at UNO Dental immediately.

Schedule a Consultation

Relief from sleep apnea is right around the corner. Fill out our online form to schedule your appointment. Dr. Kandar and the team at UNO DENTAL provide positivity-focused service that can get your sleep back on track.

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