Commercial Drivers and Problems with CPAP

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014, 10:17 pm

Commercial drivers and other commercial transportation workers are at high risk for developing obstructive sleep apnea. Evidence of the dangers involved can be found in news reports of fatal crashes involving trucks, trains, and buses. 

By definition, these workers have jobs that keep them away from home for extended periods of time. This makes keeping the appointment with the sleep doctor difficult and, once diagnosed, treatment even harder.

The first line of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is usually a CPAP machine. CPAP is the gold standard for treating this dangerous disorder, but about half of patients cannot tolerate sleeping with the machine. The masks may make them claustrophobic, the hoses difficult to adjust to, the side effects ranging from dry mouth to eye irritation may be hard to overcome.

For commercial drivers who can utilize CPAP, there is another hurdle. Idling laws in many places may make it difficult to use a humidifier attachment and cleaning and sterilizing the tubing may be almost impossible in a truck stop restroom.

There is an alternative treatment for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea that is perfectly suited to traveling. An oral appliance is a small device that is worn in the mouth while sleeping. The appliance, when properly adjusted, moves the jaw into a forward position that keeps the airway open during sleep. Oral appliance therapy has been proven effective and most patients find using the appliance comfortable and easy. There is no electricity needed and the appliance can be cleaned easily with a toothbrush and some denture cleanser.

Find out if you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy by contacting Toccoa, GA sleep apnea dentist Dr. Joseph Wilbanks today. Wilbanks Smile Center can be reached at 706-886-9439 and we’ll be happy to schedule a consultation.


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Category: CPAP device, Dental Sleep Medicine

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