“There has to be another alternative to CPAP. I’m claustrophobic wearing that mask. I can’t sleep with it on for more than 3 hours at a time and am actually more tired when I wake up.” –Mike G.
Many patients feel restricted when using CPAP devices, which can actually reduce sleep quality rather than improving it. At Carpathian Dental, we see patients who are exasperated with their CPAP machines and need something else to treat their sleep apnea.
Fortunately for patients who can’t tolerate CPAP therapy, there are oral sleep appliances. Our experienced dentists at Carpathian Dental are trained and specialized at treating sleep apnea with these minimalistic, effective devices.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) happens when you stop breathing for a brief period of time at night.
Your body will usually jolt awake once the brain signals that it’s not receiving enough oxygen. You begin to breathe properly again before falling asleep, at which point the cycle will continue. This may happen only a few times a night, or hundreds.
When you work with Dr. Bucker, Dr. Aronson, or Dr. Sprague at our practice, we talk with you about your symptoms to determine if sleep apnea could be the cause.
What Is the Treatment for OSA?
The typical treatment for OSA is CPAP therapy, which involves a machine with a mask that’s placed over your face (could be your nose or mouth depending on your preference). This mask is attached to hoses, which attaches to a motor, which is responsible for blowing pressurized air to your mask. This pressure helps to keep your airways open.
Not only is this treatment complicated, it can also feel strange sleeping with a mask on your face. “The mask and pillow are uncomfortable,” says patient Linda C., who was seeking an alternative to CPAP therapy. “I feel like I have an octopus sleeping on my face. I just can’t concentrate.”
Carpathian Dental is proficient at using another type of treatment for OSA that can be just as effective and less debilitating—oral sleep appliances.
What Is an Oral Sleep Appliance?
Oral sleep appliances are simple, discreet devices similar in appearance to a mouth guard or even an orthodontic retainer. These devices can be custom-fitted by one of our skilled dentists to fit comfortably in your mouth and successfully treat your sleep apnea.
How Do Oral Sleep Appliances Work?
Oral sleep appliances are an effective treatment for sleep apnea because they prevent your airway from collapsing during sleep. It can also prevent your tongue from obstructing your airway. Essentially, oral sleep appliances work by moving your jaw forward, which helps your airway remain open. This prevents cessation of breathing from collapsed tissue which can in turn, successfully treat sleep apnea.
Once we identify your symptoms, we can work with you to get a diagnosis and facilitate treatment.
Diagnosis and Treatment
In order to treat OSA, you must first have a valid diagnosis. One of our skilled dentists can refer you to a sleep specialist. Although dentists are trained to recognize the signs of sleep apnea, dentists cannot diagnose the disorder.
“My sleep apnea doesn’t just leave me tired all day long; it also keeps my wife up and worrying about me.”
Obstructive sleep apnea is a common health problem, but that doesn’t mean you can let it go untreated. The short-term effects of OSA are tough to deal with, but the long-term ones are really scary. The cardiovascular effects that result from long-term sleep issues can be life-threatening.
“I know it’s important, but I just can’t wear that mask all night blowing air down my throat.” Have you ever caught yourself saying or thinking that? You are certainly not alone. But if you suffer from mild to moderate OSA, you may not even need such an awkward device. You may be able to get away with wearing an oral appliance, so come to Carpathian Dental to learn if you’re a good candidate for this much less invasive OSA treatment.
Once you have a diagnosis, we can talk about treatment. “I have many nightmares when I try to sleep with CPAP,” says Dawn B., a patient who just couldn’t handle sleeping with the CPAP therapy device. Oral sleep appliances can help your airway remain open without the need for a frustrating, uncomfortable face mask that you have to wear every night.
“I travel a lot and it’s a major inconvenience checking in my CPAP at the airport,” says Gerri H. “I’m traveling to the Everglades for a school trip and there’s no reliable electricity.”
Fortunately for patients like Gerri and Dawn, oral sleep appliances fitted by our professional dentists at Carpathian Dental require no electricity and are easy to transport. They fit in a case much like a retainer or sports mouth guard. Treating OSA with oral sleep appliances can be simple and effective without the need for a machine.
Treating sleep apnea doesn’t have to be complicated or uncomfortable. Talk with one of our dentists to discover if an oral sleep appliance would be an option for you!