FOR MILD TO MODERATE obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to CPAP machines. It can be difficult to sleep with the cumbersome mask and tubes, with air blowing directly into your nose. A great, non-invasive option for sleep apnea treatment without CPAP that we offer in Jupiter, Florida is oral appliance therapy. Let’s look at the differences between the two treatments.
What Is CPAP?
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. It forces pressurized air into the airways to keep the soft tissues of the throat from closing so that breathing can continue throughout the night. CPAP machines may use a full mask or a nose pillow.
However, even though it is considered the best solution to treat the condition, a significant number of patients with OSA find it difficult to comply with this treatment. They often find their CPAP machines to be noisy, cumbersome to travel with, and uncomfortable for sleep. Patients like these can benefit from alternative treatments like oral appliance therapy.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy, including NightLase therapy, is a treatment for mild to moderate OSA. An oral appliance is a small device like a mouthguard that keeps the lower jaw positioned in a way that prevents the tongue and soft tissues from obstructing the airway. No loud machines or uncomfortable masks are involved.
Oral Appliance Therapy Study
In a study released in 2013, 103 patients with OSA ranging from mild to severe used either CPAP machines or oral appliances for two years, with annual checks on their progress. If patients had five or fewer episodes of obstructed breathing per hour or a reduction of at least 50% in the number of episodes they experienced, their treatment was considered successful.
The researchers concluded that “Oral appliance therapy should be considered as a viable treatment alternative to continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) in patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS).”
Other Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
There are other benefits to oral appliance therapy besides the portability of the appliance and the lack of noise and discomfort. CPAP machines can disperse respiratory droplets throughout a room, spreading germs. This impacted a nursing home in Washington State early in the pandemic.
Additional advantages of oral appliance therapy include:
- Convenience. The appliance is small, portable, and easy to clean.
- Comfort. Without the cumbersome masks and tubes, oral appliances are often easier to use.
- Compliance. The best treatment for OSA is the treatment you are more likely to consistently use.
Which Option Is Right for You?
Both CPAP and oral appliances are effective sleep apnea treatments, and you can consult Dr. Burman at Snoring and Sleep Apnea Therapy LLC to determine whether you are a good candidate for an oral appliance. Dr. Burman has undergone extensive training in the treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. You can learn more about what we do on our business page, and make sure to get directions before you head our way.