According to the National Sleep Foundation, more than 18 million Americans have sleep apnea. Many patients are instructed to use a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. However, there are many undesirable side effects of CPAP machines. Some people simply cannot get used to CPAP.
Adverse CPAP Side Effects
- Mask allergies and skin irritations--Depending on the type of plastic, you may find that the mask causes itching or a rash. Some people find the mask so annoying that they frequently wake up without it on, thereby not getting the help they need.
- Dry Mouth
- Congestion, Runny nose, nose bleeds, and sneezing
- Stomach bloating and intestinal discomfort
- Noise--The constant sounds emanating from a CPAP machine can be annoying for you as well as your roommate or spouse.
Dental Solutions for Sleep Apnea
If you are not using your CPAP machine it's doing you no good at all! There are other solutions for sleep apnea which your dentist can provide. In fact, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is a group of dentists who work to control snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy (OAT). Oral appliance therapy is a simple solution for obstructive sleep apnea as well as an effective alternative to CPAP machines without the adverse side effects.
The plastic oral appliance is similar to a mouth guard used for sports or an orthodontic retainer. Most dental sleep apnea appliances or snore appliances are called mandibular Repositioning Appliances--These appliances reposition the jaw so that it protrudes slightly during sleep. They also indirectly pull the tongue forward and stabilize the jaw so the mouth does not open. If you have been trained in CPR you know that repositioning the jaw forward will open the airway.
At your first visit, your sleep apnea dentist will do a custom fitting for your oral appliance. After the appliance has been made, the dentist will ensure that the fit is just right at your next visit. Normally, you will feel comfortable sleeping with your device within a few short weeks. An oral appliance is convenient to travel with. It doesn't require any sort of power source like a CPAP machine does making it much more practical.
If you desire a reversible, unobtrusive, and convenient solution for your sleep apnea, please contact Samuels Dental Arts. Often these appliances are covered by medical insurance.
For more information please don't hesitate to contact us at 717-334-0555