everly Hills sleep apnea patients do have a choice when it comes to treating their disease. Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine or a dental appliance. The choice of which device will be used is usually made by a sleep physician but only a dentist can fit a custom oral appliance.
Most patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea are initially fitted for a CPAP machine. These machines keep the patients airway open during sleep by pushing pressurized air through a mask and hose. While CPAP is considered the gold standard of sleep apnea therapy about half of the patients who try CPAP cannot tolerate using the machine. Complaints range from feeling claustrophobic, rashes or eye problems caused by leaky masks to just being unable to sleep while tethered to the machine. For a patient to be considered “compliant” with their CPAP they only need to use it at least 4 hours each night. That leaves a lot of sleeping time during which obstructive sleep apnea is not being treated and the oxygen levels of the patient are low.
Another option for obstructive sleep apnea patients is an oral appliance. These custom fit devices keep the airway open at night by either pushing the jaw forward, called a mandibular advancement device, or by keeping the tongue from falling back with a retaining device. The most popular and commonly used device is the mandibular advancement device. Studies have shown a much higher rate of compliance among patients who use oral appliances. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has approved the use of oral appliances to treat mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea and in more severe cases when the patient is CPAP intolerant.
Oral appliances are also highly effective at stopping snoring in those patients who snore loudly but do not have sleep apnea. Only dentists who have received specialized training in the field of dental sleep medicine should be trusted to create and fit these appliances for snoring or sleep apnea.
To find out if an oral appliance might be right for treating your snoring or obstructive sleep apnea please contact Beverly Hills sleep medicine dentist Dr. David Frey at 310-276-4537 today to schedule your consultation.