Can your dentist customize an oral appliance to treat your obstructive sleep apnea that’s a lot safer than a CPAP machine?
Another name for such an oral appliance is mandibular advancement device.
These aren’t just “mouth guards,” and the generic mouth guards that you can buy at the drug store or online are not the same thing.
For some people with obstructive sleep apnea, CPAP therapy is not tolerable.
Upkeep with the device, which includes daily disinfection, can be burdensome enough for some individuals.
But what makes CPAP intolerable for many is that it’s impossible to restfully sleep while air is being blown down one’s throat and/or through one’s nose.
Plus, trying to sleep with a mask on one’s face can be quite uncomfortable.
Though some OSA patients tolerate CPAP well, this doesn’t invalidate the fact that many others just cannot comply with CPAP no matter how much they try.
This is where the oral appliance option comes in.
Safety of the Oral Appliance vs. CPAP
“With a mandibular advancement device, there is no air being blown,” says Dr. Roger Roubal, DDS, a sleep apnea dentist with Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.
“It works by mechanically moving the lower jaw down and forward, moving the tongue out of the airway and clearing the obstruction more naturally.
“This is safer in a couple ways.
“With a CPAP, the water needs to be distilled, and all the tubing needs to be cleaned well and often.
“If this is not done properly, there is potential for contamination to be blown into the patient’s body which then can cause inflammation and infection.”
Bear in mind that some CPAP users will become lax with keeping the device as clean and sterile as possible, even though they may be very compliant with its use.
Dr. Roubal also explains, “With a CPAP, air is constantly being blown. If a patient has a virus of any kind, there is potential for the virus to be blown and carried to other members of the household, thus spreading the virus to them.
“Oral appliances do not carry either of these risks.”
The next question by the patient, then, might be how effective an oral appliance is for someone who has moderate, let alone severe, sleep apnea.
Dr. Roubal has practiced dentistry for 30+ years in Nebraska. Through successful snoring and sleep apnea treatment he saves lives and provides his patients a higher quality of life. Dr. Roubal has received significant additional training and credentials in this area, the sole focus of his practice.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.