CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is considered the gold standard for sleep apnea care, and it can be very effective. The problem is that CPAP isn’t good for everyone. It can be uncomfortable, difficult to sleep with, may result in skin breakouts, nightmares, and even pneumonia. Many people find the side effects too hard to deal with and give up using it, which means they essentially have untreated sleep apnea, and all the dangers that entails. The good news is that there are many CPAP alternatives that can give people better sleep apnea treatment. If you want to learn about the alternatives to CPAP in Centennial, please call (303) 759-5652 or email Park Meadows Dental Care today for an appointment.
CPAP Side Effects
People are commonly seeking CPAP alternatives because they are experiencing negative side effects from CPAP, which commonly include:
- Feelings of claustrophobia or claustrophobic nightmares
- Difficulty falling asleep
- Irritation of the nose and throat
- Dryness of the nose and throat
- Recurrent sinus infection
- Skin irritation
- Annoyance by noise
Overcoming these side effects may require additional equipment or trying out numerous options in terms of masks or machines. Many people never find a suitable CPAP configuration that gives them rest while ensuring they get the proper treatment of their sleep apnea. Even for people who adapt to CPAP, there are good reasons to find a CPAP alternative for occasional use. Travel with a CPAP machine is a pain, but no one would want to try an important business trip with untreated sleep apnea. And there’s no surer way to ruin a vacation than not getting enough sleep. These people want a more portable, more convenient sleep apnea treatment.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is the best CPAP alternative available. An oral appliance is a small accessory that you put in your mouth while you sleep. It’s similar in appearance and configuration to a sports mouthguard. It’s easy to use, convenient to transport, and generally comfortable. Most oral appliances work by repositioning your jaw while you sleep. This improves the ability of the jaw to support the tissue of the airway, which makes your airway less likely to collapse at night. For many people, oral appliances work as well or better than CPAP, without the side effects that come from the mask and pump arrangement. Oral appliances are also covered by most insurance as a frontline treatment for mild and moderate sleep apnea and as a CPAP alternative for people with severe sleep apnea.
Lifestyle changes are a common adjunct to oral appliance therapy, but it can also be a standalone treatment. Losing weight, avoiding alcohol at night, cutting down on allergens, and changing your sleep position can all result in significant reductions to your sleep apnea. For some people, especially with mild sleep apnea, this may be adequate to treat sleep apnea, but for most people it is not.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
Sleep apnea surgery may be a CPAP alternative treatment for some people with sleep apnea. If there are very specific anatomic causes for your sleep apnea, surgery may be able to correct them. Sleep apnea surgery has many reasons why it is not always recommended right away. First, surgery is risky for sleep apnea sufferers. Second, the effectiveness of sleep apnea surgery overall is unpredictable. Finally, even if people do see good initial results from sleep apnea surgery, they may see those results diminish over time. Finding the right CPAP alternative requires a discussion with a sleep doctor or sleep dentist. If you are looking for a better way to treat your sleep apnea, please contact our Centennial sleep dentist at Park Meadows Dental Care.