Some people suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) decide to abstain from traditional continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment for a number of reasons. Things like a mild form of OSA or extreme discomfort with traditional CPAP equipment can cause patients to opt for something different like an oral appliance. Oral appliances are one of the newest treatment options approved by the FDA to treat mild to moderate OSA and many users find their less intrusive design ideal.
Oral appliances are actually very similar in concept to a basic mouthguard. They are inserted into the mouth but cover both the top and bottom teeth. They treat OSA by adjusting the position of the jaw, jutting it forward slightly in order to prop open your airway, preventing airway closure in the process. The oral appliance contains an adjustable setting that is set by your doctor to fit your jaw, and often it is recommended that you check this often to make sure it hasn’t shifted as this can cause unwanted issues.
The advantages of using an oral appliance are many. For one, they cost a fraction of the price of traditional CPAP machines which include numerous other parts that need to be replaced regularly. They are also often the preferred method of treatment for those who suffer from mild OSA, as the oral appliance is less intrusive but is still able to prevent apneas. Many users find oral appliances ideal for travel as well. They are extremely compact, discreet, and don’t require any additional cords or parts to be functional. These and other reasons may push you to try an oral appliance, but be sure to speak with your doctor to determine if your OSA can be effectively treated by one.
Of course, the above outline is not a complete guide to the oral appliance, but hopefully you now have a better idea of if it will work for you. Of course, it is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs.
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Many patients who use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) often wonder what other alternatives exist to treat the disease. You might be surprised to find out that there are a variety of treatments available, spanning the spectrum from invasive to completely non-invasive. Each type of treatment and therapy has its own pros and cons, and the best type of therapy often depends on the patient’s individual needs and preferences.
Chances are, if you find yourself on this blog, you are pretty familiar with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Pressurized air is delivered through the patient’s mouth to their airway passages from an external machine. Tubing connects the machine and the wearable mask, and the patient has assistance in the form of pressurized air to push through any blockages that may develop in the airway passages, also known as a hypopnea. Pros include the non-invasive method of therapy and proven benefits of long term use, but often patients have trouble successfully adopting their new treatment into their lifestyle on a permanent basis.
A popular trend in the obstructive sleep apnea world is to recommend Oral Appliances for treatment instead of traditional CPAP therapy. The oral appliance functions similarly to a mouth guard and patients undergo a fitting process to ensure an optimal fit. The oral appliance manually slides the jaw forward, and removes any blockages or hypopneas that occur due to obstructive sleep apnea. Pros include the lifetime affordability of the treatment and the non-invasive nature of delivery, but they are said to potentially cause permanent jaw damage among long time users.
The most extreme of the various treatment options, surgery is mostly reserved for patients who can’t use either CPAP therapy or an Oral Appliance due to previously existing medical conditions. The surgery to correct Obstructive Sleep Apnea can take several forms, but the main goal is to remove tissue at the back of the throat. Technically named, “uvulopalatopharyngoplasty” (UPPP), the surgery seeks to widen the airway passage, deter some muscle action to improve the openness of the throat, and promote movement of the soft palate. Benefits of this procedure include a higher rate of certainty of success, but it is often costly and incredibly invasive, requiring many doctor visits. Even then, the surgery’s success is not guaranteed and many patients need to return to CPAP therapy in order to continue treatment.
Of course, the above outline is not an exhaustive resource, but hopefully you now have a better understanding of how to benefit the most from your CPAP therapy and get the best night’s sleep possible. It is best to speak with your doctor to determine what is best for your individual needs and therapy requirements.