When you’re diagnosed with sleep apnea, there’s a good chance your doctor will recommend Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (CPAP) as your treatment option. Although CPAP can successfully treat sleep apnea, it isn’t the perfect treatment for every patient. Some people have no problems with CPAP while others aren’t so lucky. They actually have a lengthy list of complaints about CPAP. Read through these complaints to see if you can relate and learn about an alternative sleep apnea treatment we offer at Kuhn Dental Associates.
One of the top complaints about CPAP is how uncomfortable it is to wear the mask. If you’re uncomfortable when you try to go to sleep, it can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep. You’re using CPAP to get better sleep and yet it’s not helping you get better sleep because it’s so uncomfortable. If CPAP is too uncomfortable, your mask might not fit correctly. It shouldn’t cause you any pain or discomfort. Try out different mask sizes and styles to find the right one for you. Some people, however, can never seem to find the one. In this case, we would recommend an alternative sleep apnea treatment.
The Mask Leaks
Another common complaint about CPAP is that the mask is leaky. The purpose of CPAP is to deliver full air pressure. If the mask doesn’t fit properly or leaks air, you’re not getting all the benefits of continuous positive air pressure. Try adjusting the straps and pads to get a better fit. You might need a different sized mask if it still doesn’t fit right.
There’s Too Much Air Pressure
Too much air pressure can feel uncomfortable and make you not want to wear your mask. One way to make your treatment more comfortable is by using a ramp feature that allows you to start your night with a lower air pressure that gradually increases to your ideal setting. This can prevent you from feeling like your air pressure is too high.
It Causes a Dry/Stuffy Nose
Having air continuously blow into your nose and mouth can make your nose feel incredibly dry or stuffy. A leaky mask can also contribute to this problem. One solution is to adjust the humidifier settings on your CPAP. You can also use a saline spray before bed or use a heated humidifier tubing to prevent your nose and mouth from drying out.
It Makes You Feel Claustrophobic
If you don’t like enclosed spaces, you might not like using CPAP. If you want to feel less claustrophobic using it, try wearing the mask for short periods during the day to get used to it. There are also different masks you can try that might make you feel less claustrophobic. Some people are able to get over their claustrophobic feeling, but not all can. In these cases, we recommend a different treatment.
It Can Irritate Your Skin and Cause Pressure Sores
Wearing the CPAP mask can cause your skin to become irritated if it’s sitting too snugly. The irritation can lead to pressure sores that might feel painful or look embarrassing. This usually means you need a different fitting mask. If you have extra sensitive skin, you might still experience skin irritation or acne from wearing the mask.
CPAP Makes it Difficult to Fall Asleep
It takes a while to get used to wearing CPAP. Wearing the mask during the day can help you get used to the feeling of wearing it which might make falling asleep easier, but this isn’t the case for everyone.
CPAP Alternative: Oral Appliance Therapy
Nearly 50% of CPAP users find it impossible to tolerate. If you also experience some of these complaints we listed above, you might wonder if there is a different treatment available that can treat your sleep apnea without complaint. The answer is yes! Oral appliance therapy is a CPAP alternative treatment we offer at our Pinehurst dental office.
If you already have a sleep apnea diagnosis, we can work with your physician to create your custom treatment plan. One aspect of our treatment plan you won’t find at a traditional physician’s office is the evaluation of your jaw and surrounding muscles and tissues. If we find that you have an imbalance in your jaws, you might also suffer from TMD. We will use advanced dental technology including our K7 and TENS unit to ensure your jaws are relaxed and in the proper position when we take impressions to create your new oral appliance.
The oral appliance is comfortable to wear and easy to transport. It rests comfortably in your mouth just like a night guard! You don’t have to worry about masks, hoses, humidifiers, or any other hassles that come along with CPAP. The appliance works by holding your jaw in the right position to open the airway. It also creates extra room in your mouth to accommodate your tongue. The combination of the two allows you to sleep while breathing comfortably throughout the night.
Get Alternative Sleep Apnea Treatment in Pinehurst
If you would like to learn if a CPAP alternative is a good sleep apnea treatment for you, please schedule a consultation with our Pinehurst sleep dentist. Call us at (910) 692-4450 to book an appointment today. Once you have your new treatment, you never have to look at CPAP again!