Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance vs CPAP
Oral Appliance vs. CPAP: Which Is Best for Treating Sleep Apnea?
People diagnosed with sleep apnea often have to choose between continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and oral appliances as a choice of treatment and management.
Are you in this position right now? This oral appliance vs. CPAP comparison will guide you toward the best decision.
How Oral Appliances Treat Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances fit like a mouth guard over your upper and lower teeth. They hold the jaw or tongue in place to keep the airway clear. These appliances are best for treating mild to moderate sleep apnea.
At Healthy Sleep Midwest, we provide durable and personalized oral appliances for our clients.
Pros and Cons of Oral Appliances
- Oral appliances are flexible. They are excellent for travel and can fit in a small corner of your luggage.
- Oral appliances can work in conjunction with CPAP and other sleep apnea treatments. Patients with severe apnea may benefit from combining oral appliances with other therapies such as radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and other non-invasive solutions.
- They are more cost-effective. Medical insurance plans typically cover oral appliance therapy. Therefore, they tend to be the cheaper option in the oral appliance vs. CPAP debate.
- They may not work for severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). CPAP is more effective in this scenario.
- Oral appliances must be custom-fitted. You need to consult a professional for measurements.
How CPAP Treats Sleep Apnea
A CPAP machine is effective in treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. The design delivers a constant stream of air down the throat, keeping the airway clear as you sleep. Like oral appliances, effective use of continuous positive airway pressure therapy can reduce snoring and improve sleep quality.
Pros and Cons of CPAP
- There’s no limit to CPAP’s efficacy. It can work for all cases of obstructive sleep apnea, from mild to severe.
- Machines are ready-made. There are many CPAP machine designs available. Patients typically have to find a properly fitting mask.
- CPAP therapy is popular. Most sleep disorder specialists can either provide CPAP therapy or offer recommendations.
- The device is uncomfortable. Most CPAP users agree that they are in constant discomfort while wearing one. The mask constantly on the face may trigger claustrophobia in some patients. It’s also harder to sleep with the pipe around your body.
- CPAP machines are loud. If you’re treating sleep apnea to make sleeping with a partner in the room more comfortable, CPAP machines defeat that purpose. While the snoring will reduce, the noise from the machine could keep anyone else in the room awake.
- CPAP machines cause dry mouth. Since CPAP machines blow dry air down your throat all night long, many people report having extreme dry mouth after sleeping. Adding a heated humidifier is the go-to solution, but that’s another variable added to the experience.
- CPAP machines may cause bloating. With a constant stream of air going down the throat, it’s easy to swallow too much air and wake up bloated while asleep with a CPAP mask on.
Oral Appliance vs. CPAP: Which Should You Choose?
The flexibility of oral appliances makes them the go-to option for many people battling sleep apnea. However, the final decision rests in the hands of your doctor. Remember, oral devices are most effective for mild to moderate obstructive apnea.