CPAP Intolerance & Non Compliance
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
It’s a medical device that sits next to your bed, a hose with a mask at the end is worn over the nose and/or mouth while sleeping. An air-compressor pumps air through the mask into the airway, keeping it open during sleep. CPAP is considered the “gold standard” for the management of sleep apnea because it is highly effective in a lab setting. For cases of severe OSA, a CPAP can be the only effective treatment.
To be considered “compliant” with CPAP treatment, the mask must be worn at least 4 hours per night, 21 days per month. Even with this lenient definition, rates of CPAP compliance have been estimated as low as 17%*.
It is estimated that most CPAP users are non-compliant or do not use their CPAP for the duration of their sleep! Which means they are not treating their condition completely and are putting their lives in danger every night. For patients who cannot tolerate CPAP or are habitually non-compliant, Oral Appliance Therapy can be an alternative treatment. Not every patient qualifies for Oral Appliance Therapy, and any treatment decisions need to be made with a board-certified sleep physician or your primary care doctor. High Country Dentistry can assist you with this process. Click here to schedule your appointment.
While CPAP has been shown to be more effective at reducing sleep-study (polysomnographic) variables in lab settings, due to the higher compliance rate of Oral Appliance Therapy, their effectiveness is equivalent in real world settings1.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) uses a custom fitted dental appliance, similar to a retainer, to ensure unrestricted airflow during sleep. The device positions the lower jaw forward, which moves the base of the tongue slightly to ensure the airway remains open during sleep. The appliance fits in the palm of your hand, uses no power and has no hoses or pumps.
Do not mistake OAT with a drugstore snoreguard, which is not FDA cleared for treating OSA. Attempting to treat OSA with an unapproved device and not under the care of a trained professional could exacerbate the condition leading to potentially serious complications.
Our office has been DreamSleep Certified for treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. DreamSleep is a national network of Dentists and Physicians working together to raise awareness and treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- Sutherland et al. Efficacy versus effectiveness in the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea: CPAP and oral appliances.J Dent Sleep Med. 2:175–181, 2015.