Dental Appliances Vs. CPAP For Sleep Apnea Treatment

Thursday, August 9th, 2012, 6:59 pm

In most cases obstructive sleep apnea can be treated using continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or a dental appliance. The choice of which device will be used is usually made by a sleep physician but only a dentist can fit a custom oral appliance. Does the patient have a choice?Wilbanks Smile Center can treat snoring and sleep apnea using oral appliances.

The answer is yes. Most patients who are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are initially fitted for a CPAP machine. These machines keep the patients airway open during sleep by pushing pressurized air through a mask and hose. CPAP is considered the gold standard of sleep apnea therapy but unfortunately, about half of the patients who try CPAP cannot tolerate using the machine. For a patient to be considered “compliant” with their CPAP they only need to use it at least 4 hours each night. That leaves a lot of sleeping time during which obstructive sleep apnea is not being treated.

Studies have shown a much higher rate of compliance among patients who use oral appliances. These custom fit devices keep the airway open at night by either pushing the jaw forward, called a mandibular advancement device, or by keeping the tongue from falling back with a retaining device. The most popular and commonly used device is the mandibular advancement device.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has approved the use of oral appliances to treat mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea and in more severe cases when the patient is CPAP intolerant.

Oral appliances are also highly effective at stopping snoring in those patients who snore loudly but do not have sleep apnea.

To find out if an oral appliance might be right for treating your snoring or obstructive sleep apnea please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439 to schedule your consultation.

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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine

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