CPAP vs Oral Appliance To Treat Sleep Apnea

People who suffer from sleep apnea are tasked with choosing between oral appliances and CPAP for treatment.  This is not an easy decision, to say the least. Most patients are unaware as to which form of treatment is ideal for this condition and their unique physiology.  Below, we explain the merits and flaws of each treatment modality to help sleep apnea sufferers obtain the rest they desperately need.

Oral Appliances or CPAP for Sleep Apnea?

Oral appliances, also known as oral devices, are best used for obstructive sleep apnea that is mild to moderate.   In some cases, dentists will recommend oral appliances as opposed to CPAP as the initial form of treatment. The question is whether your physiology will comply with this form of treatment.  CPAP is an acronym that stands for continuous positive airway pressure.

If you are already using CPAP and do not have an issue with it, you will get more of a benefit from not changing anything.  However, CPAP is not always effective for sleep apnea sufferers. If you are unhappy with the results of CPAP, oral appliances are absolutely worth considering.


The Differences Between Oral Devices and CPAP

CPAP functions with the transmission of air pressure through a tube to the mask.  The patient wears these devices over the nose/mouth to send air through the patient's obstruction.  Oral devices move the lower portion of the jaw forward, reposition the structures creating the airway and free up the obstruction.  Thankfully, both forms of treatment allow for reimbursement through medical insurance.

In terms of storage, CPAP poses some challenges.  You will need a fairly large case to store your CPAP machine.  This machine must be transported with adapters and electrical cords.  Patients often find they have to take their CPAP machine as a carry-on baggage since this type of machine is not the most durable.  Alternatively, people can store oral devices with comparable ease. You can place your oral device in a retainer case or carry it in a briefcase/purse.

In terms of comfort, CPAP has the potential to feel uncomfortable and spur skin discomfort.  The vast majority of patients report oral devices are comfortable. CPAP is also somewhat of a burden in that it requires electricity.  Oral devices do not require electricity. Add in the fact that CPAP machines make noise and it is easy to understand why some patients favor oral devices.

Why is CPAP Considered the Gold Standard for Sleep Apnea Treatment?

While the CPAP machine certainly has its flaws, it also has its fair share of merits as well.  The CPAP is a noninvasive means of treating sleep apnea that commences immediately after the diagnosis.  It normalizes the patient's breathing to prevent sleep apnea from occurring. CPAP machines are also easy to clean, providing patients with less of a hassle when it comes to everyday tasks.

The addition of a little extra humidity makes this treatment modality comfortable for those who have a dry nose or suffer from allergies.  Furthermore, patients can choose from several mask options to determine which is the best fit.

Request a sleep apnea dental appointment here: or call Pleasant Dental at (203) 290-3648 for an appointment in our Newtown dental office.

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