Although most doctors recommend CPAP as the first treatment for sleep apnea, many people benefit from using an oral appliance. For most people, oral appliances are as effective as CPAP, but it’s more comfortable, convenient, and transportable.
If you would like to learn whether an oral appliance is right for your sleep apnea in St. Louis, please call (314) 375-5353 (Downtown St. Louis) or (314) 375-5353 (Clayton) today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Chris Hill at our office downtown or in Clayton.
Oral Appliances Are as Effective as CPAP
Although CPAP was developed first and gained a reputation as the best way to treat sleep apnea, the science shows that oral appliances are as effective as CPAP for treating sleep apnea. When the two treatments are compared, they have essentially the same impact on:
- Daytime sleepiness
- High blood pressure
- Morning headaches
- Psychological effects
When used, CPAP is 100% effective at eliminating sleep apnea. The problem is that it’s not always used. Around half of people who are supposed to be on CPAP can’t use it for the recommended 4 hours a night on most nights. Even though oral appliances aren’t as effective at eliminating sleep apnea, they tend to be used much more often. Over 90% of people meet the minimum threshold for use, and over 80% use it all night every night. This means that the health benefits can be as good as or better than CPAP.
One of the reasons why people don’t use their CPAP is that it’s uncomfortable. People experience:
- Dry throat
- Skin irritation
- Nose irritation
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Restricted motion from hoses
Oral appliances, on the other hand, don’t cause these problems. With no mask or hoses, they simply can’t cause most of these conditions. With properly adjusted oral appliances, you won’t notice any side effects, just a much more restful sleep.
Oral Appliances Treat All Levels of Sleep Apnea
In the past, it was believed that oral appliances were only good for mild or moderate sleep apnea. Now we know that oral appliances can also be very effective for severe sleep apnea, although in this case, CPAP may be better.
Most Insurance Covers Oral Appliance Therapy
In the past, it was a battle to get coverage for your oral appliances. Now, though, insurance companies know these are effective, and they will cover oral appliances with little or no hassle. Or, at least, with as little hassle as CPAP, since there’s no dealing with insurance without some level of hassle.
Oral appliances are simple to use, adjust, and maintain.
For use, you just put them in. They’re no straps to adjust, no reservoirs to fill, no mask to put on. It is probably the simplest piece of medical equipment you’ll ever own.
Adjustment is almost as easy in most cases. The most complex adjustment is a screw. Other appliances have even simpler mechanisms, like trading out one piece for another.
And for maintenance, all you have to do is rinse your appliance daily and soak it every once in awhile. Compare that to CPAP, which has tubes, hoses, maks, pumps, reservoirs, and heaters to maintain.
And oral appliances are easy to take with you. The small case is easy to pack and won’t attract any attention if you’re going through airport security. You don’t need to have batteries or an outlet or anything at your destination to support the oral appliance.
But with CPAP, you may need a separate piece of luggage just for the machine.
Learn the Benefits for Yourself
Are you looking for the best sleep apnea treatment for yourself? If you haven’t tried an oral appliance, you should. You will love it.