What is CPAP?
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) was developed in the early 1980’s and was the first viable solution for treating the CPAP examples for treating obstructive sleep apneainsidious disease of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Most physicians prescribe CPAP as a first treatment option, though many physicians now utilize dental devices as a first line of therapy for mild to moderate disease OSA. CPAP treatment consists of a pump that delivers positive air pressure to a mask that is fitted over the nose and/or the mouth. The air pressure is adjusted until the airway is forced open, much like blowing up a balloon.
Disadvantages of CPAP
CPAP is a very effective therapy WHEN it is used. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea and were prescribed a CPAP by your physician, you know exactly what we mean when we say WHEN it is used; compliance is the biggest challenge with this therapy. Most people find that wearing a mask and having air pushed down their throat is a challenge. The problems patients complain about from CPAP therapy are very real and often difficult, if not impossible, to overcome.
A partial list of the most common patient complaints from CPAP:
- Mask leaks
- An inability to get the mask to fit properly
- Discomfort or interrupted sleep caused by the presence of the device
- Noise from the device disturbing sleep or bed partner’s sleep
- CPAP restricted movements during sleep
- CPAP does not seem to be effective
- Pressure on the upper lip causes tooth related problems
- Latex allergy
- Claustrophobic associations
- An unconscious need to remove the CPAP apparatus at night
CPAP Alternative: Mandibular Repositioning Devices (MRD)
The key element to successful sleep apnea treatment is an opening of the airway. The airway is most commonly closed due to laxity of the airway itself during sleep and negative pressure created upon inhalation, which makes it collapse. During the day, the muscles that line the airway keep it open, but at night those muscles become more relaxed and may allow the airway to close upon itself. The other major culprit is the tongue itself. The tongue is a huge muscle that fills the entire lower jaw (the mandible) and originates from deep in the throat. The tongue can physically block the opening of the airway very easily.
This is where mandibular repositioning devices (MRD) come into play. The device gently moves the lower jaw forward, physically bringing with it the tongue so that it doesn’t fall back and block the airway. It also supplements the job of the muscles that line the airway by spatially widening the airway itself. The result is a much wider airway and more continuous flow of air and life-giving oxygen.
Here are a few minor, though important to recognize, disadvantages of MRD’s.
- First of all, it takes a little getting used to. If it is your first time wearing an MRD, you may feel a little funny with all the material in your mouth. Our patients routinely comment that after the first few nights, they simply put the device in, fall asleep and don’t wake up until the morning.
- The device fits intimately to your teeth so it is very important that your oral health be stable. If you have gum disease or active cavities, they should really be addressed prior to fabrication of a device that is relying upon the teeth for support. This is another reason why Dr. Perry’s philosophy of having both CPAP and MRD’s available is great. You can wear your CPAP while your oral health is
stabilized and your MRD is being fabricated.
- Since the device gently brings your jaw forward you may feel some tension or pain in your jaw joint. This is usually transient and well controlled by adjusting the device, but is another a good reason to have CPAP on hand to change out when needed.
Contact Perry Dental Health for more Information
No one treatment fits every patient. Dr. Perry and his team’s primary goal is the health and well-being of our patients. We want to be your resource and advocate for treatment of your snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Perry understands, first-hand, how the management of these conditions can improve one’s quality of life. Please don’t feel that we are here solely to “sell” you a dental device. If you are doing well with CPAP, that’s great! We are here to help you manage your condition and show you adjunctive treatments. The best way you can thank us is to let your friends and family know that we helped improve your quality of life. Please don’t ever hesitate to ask us questions!!! You can reach Perry Dental Health dental office in San Antonio today at (210) 377-3779.
Learn about Sleep Apnea
When you visit our San Antonio dentist office, locally known as one of the top family dentistry in our area, to brighten your smile with whiter teeth, you’ll be presented with either in-office or at-home teeth whitening procedures. The first professional option is commonly referred to as in-office whitening. This teeth whitening procedure is performed in our San Antonio dental office. During an appointment, your gentle dental professional will apply a whitening gel to the surface of your teeth. The entire office visit generally takes about 90 minutes and you will be able to see results immediately. Plastic whitening trays will be made from models of your teeth. You will then place a special whitening gel in each tray and wear the trays in your mouth for several hours per day. (Many San Antonio patients wear their teeth whitening trays after dinner and before bed.) A significant change in tooth color is usually seen in just four to six weeks by our San Antonio patients.
Are there different types of sleep apnea?
The most common for of sleep apnea is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), and occurs due to a physical blockage — usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. Less common is central sleep apnea (CSA), in which breathing stops because the muscles involved don’t receive the proper signal from the brain. And some people suffer from “mixed” or “complex” sleep apnea, which is a combination of obstructive and central.Your bed partner can lose up to an hour of sleep each night due to your snoring (that’s over 15 days per year!)
What are the signs of sleep apnea?
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these, contact our practice.
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Headaches in the morning
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
The Facts on Snoring and Sleep Apnea:
Sleep Apnea San Antonio Treatment
At Perry Dental Health in San Antonio, we provide sleep apnea treatments that will meet the needs of each individual. As a sufferer of sleep apnea himself, Dr. Perry understands how difficult it can be to deal with this disorder and the problems that come with traditional treatments, which is why he offers CPAP alternatives – a recommended sleep apnea treatment in San Antonio such as Mandibular Repositioning Devices (MRD), as well as combination therapies. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep-disorder and the team at Perry Dental Health is committed to helping you find the best available treatment. Don’t suffer from sleep apnea any longer, make an appointment with Dr. Perry by calling Perry Dental Health today at (210) 377-3779.