Japanese Study Links Facial Changes to CPAP Use

Thursday, October 28th, 2010, 11:23 am

A small study out of Japan recently showed that using nasal CPAP for just three years showed changes in the jaws and teeth.  The lead author of the study, Dr. Hiroko Tsuda noted that “the whole front area of the maxilla was pushed back…” and that “these changes may affect the profile, tongue space and OSA symptoms”.  This study has generated controversy on many CPAP support group websites.

One posting noted:  “Certainly it affects some people ‘cos at least two of of us on this list have changes. Mine are on the point of making chewing impossible and it is 100% caused by CPAP mask pressure.  I have been on CPAP at least 7 years.  However, as you say, CPAP is a life saver so that means working with it rather than giving up. Unthinkable to give up even if I must puree my food.”

These comments, along with this study, simply underline the need for a team effort in the treatment of patients with obstructive sleep apnea.  Even for the minority of patients fortunate enough to tolerate CPAP therapy should be visiting a dentist regularly.  Hopefully they are visiting a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine and one with experience diagnosing and treating temporomandibular joint dysfunction.  Having your dentist monitor your jaw and bite can help prevent problems like the ones afflicting the lady who wrote the post about pureeing her food.

If you are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy don’t despair of treating your OSA.  Oral appliance therapy is a good option for mild to moderate sleep apnea and may be used in more severe cases when the patient is CPAP intolerant.

Please contact my Toccoa, Georgia full-service dental office today at 706-886-9439 for more information regarding diagnosis and treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.

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Category: Dental Sleep Medicine, oral health, TMJ

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