Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
Before the advent of Oral Appliance Therapy, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) was the primary non-surgical method for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. CPAP works by delivering continuous air pressure into the airway, thereby keeping it open while the patient sleeps. The pressure prevents the airway from collapsing either fully or partially.
CPAP machines include the machine itself, a mask that fits over the nose and/or mouth, and a tube that connects the mask to the machine. CPAP still remains the primary treatment for patients with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, while Oral Appliance Therapy is used as a first line of treatment for mild-to-moderate cases. However, if a patient with Sever OSA tries to use CPAP but cannot tolerate it, then Oral Appliance Therapy can be used as an alternative treatment modality at that point.
CPAP is an effective treatment for patients who can tolerate it. However, many patients still find CPAP difficult to tolerate due to feelings of claustrophobia and inability to sleep because of the noise from the machine and discomfort from the mask. There have been advances in CPAP technology over the years to make it more comfortable, including built-in humidifiers, auto pressure regulators and different kinds of machines and masks. It is important for patients and their doctors to take the time to find the device and settings that work best. Some patients simply cannot tolerate CPAP, effectively ruling it out as a treatment option.
If you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it’s imperative to find a treatment method that you can tolerate. Oral Appliance Therapy is one of the most common treatments for individuals who cannot tolerate CPAP. San Francisco Dental Sleep Medicine specializes in this therapy. If you’ve tried CPAP and have questions about Oral Appliance Therapy, please click here to contact us for a consultation to find out if this therapy might be right for you.