For decades, CPAP therapy has been the standard treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. It is quite effective, and it has helped countless individuals to enjoy improved sleep and improved health. Unfortunately, though, CPAP machines have their downsides. For example, they are sometimes the subject of recalls due to unexpected dangers that they present to patients.
Is there a suitable alternative treatment for patients affected by CPAP recalls? Yes. Read on below to learn about oral appliance therapy.
What Is an Oral Appliance?
An oral sleep appliance is a small device that looks similar to a nightguard that you might prescribe for patients who struggle with bruxism. However, it serves an entirely different purpose. Many oral sleep appliances are also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs). They gently move the mandible forward.
This slight repositioning of the jaw helps to keep the airway open during sleep. It therefore prevents the pauses in breathing that are the hallmark of obstructive sleep apnea.
Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy
When you choose to offer oral sleep appliances, you can provide something of remarkable value to your patients. Here are some advantages that this treatment has over traditional CPAP therapy:
- No harmful chemicals. A 2021 recall of Phillips Respironics CPAP machines stemmed from the fact that the machines had harmful chemicals in them. As those chemicals broke down, they could threaten patients’ health. Oral appliances are free of such issues.
- Convenience for travel. While airlines usually allow CPAP machines to be brought aboard, traveling with them can be a pain. Oral appliances are small enough to easily fit into carry-on luggage. During international trips, they do not require any sort of power adapter because they do not run on electricity.
- Silence. CPAP machines can be rather noisy. An oral appliance, on the other hand, is completely silent.
- Easy maintenance. It can be tricky to keep a CPAP machine properly cleaned and maintained. An oral appliance is much easier and less time-consuming to care for. All it requires is a basic daily cleaning routine.
- Comfort. Some patients do not comply with CPAP therapy because they find their machine to be uncomfortable. Oral appliance therapy has higher compliance rates.
CPAP machine recalls have happened in the past, and they may well happen again in the future. During such times, dentists who offer oral appliance therapy are able to provide patients with a way to get high-quality rest without worrying about the safety of their treatment.
Meet the Sleep Apnea Expert
Dr. Kent Smith is a leading expert in the field of sleep dentistry. He is the President of the American Sleep Breathing Academy and a member of several other prestigious organizations. He regularly hosts training seminars to help dentists and their team members incorporate oral appliance therapy into their practices. To learn more about the training opportunities available to you, contact us at 972-255-3712.