By Marianna Kovitch, DMD, DABDSM
Despite widespread agreement that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is a fast and effective way to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), it is estimated that 50% of patients who use a CPAP machine are noncompliant within one year.
Top 5 reasons people don’t like CPAP:
• I turn a lot when I sleep and the cord gets in my way.
• This machine may keep me single forever.
• I can’t sleep with something on my face all night.
• I am waking up every hour feeling like I am in a wind tunnel. • I feel excessive air in my stomach.
What are other treatment options for sleep apnea if I cannot wear the CPAP?
Seeking out an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor to determine what may be contributing to the obstruction-causing apnea is beneficial. ENT doctors can evaluate the airway and try to identify factors that may be contributing to your sleeping problems.
Oral appliance therapy is heavily researched and recommended for mild to moderate OSA. I have treated many severe OSA patients who just can’t tolerate CPAP therapy as well with great results.
There are now over 150 approved custom oral appliances on the market for treatment of OSA. Do not just go buy one online.
These custom appliances have to be adjusted and prepared individually in order to meet your needs. We are all anatomically very different and so the appliance has to be custom made to your specific airway needs to work properly.
The use of these devices has been on the rise for many years now due to their small size, ease to travel with and overall comfort and effectiveness. No power needed!
Another option for severe OSA is combination therapy, where we use a much lower pressure on the CPAP machine in conjunction with minimal advancement with oral appliance therapy.
Dr. Kovitch is an expert practitioner in cosmetic dentistry and dental sleep medicine. She is a Diplomate in the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, the highest distinction in dental sleep medicine. She is also an active member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and serves as Vice President on the board of the Georgia Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Kovitch is passionate about treating patients with sleep apnea and snoring using oral appliance therapy. She is also a certified HealthyStartTM provider, helping children correct early signs of sleep disordered breathing.