Westminster Sleep Appliances

Can’t tolerate a CPAP? A dental orthotic may help

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or think you may have it, you may be familiar with the most common treatment method, CPAP. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and it involves a machine that forces air into your nose and mouth through a mask that you wear while you sleep.

This keeps your air passageways open so that you can breathe all night and stay asleep. CPAP is an effective method of preventing the interrupted sleep that sleep apnea sufferers experience, but the drawbacks are that the machine is loud and the mask is uncomfortable for many people.

A CPAP machine also requires an electrical outlet, so using it is not always easy or possible when travelling or camping. There is a CPAP alternative available from a dentist that is small, comfortable and requires no electricity.

Dental orthotics

The word orthotic is based in Latin and basically means “straight.” You may have heard the word orthotic used in regards to feet and shoes. In dentistry, orthotics is the straightening of teeth and jaw position with a removable dental appliance. While orthodontics straightens teeth permanently, orthotics does not permanently alter the position of your teeth. This removable dental appliance can be used as a treatment for sleep apnea.

How it works

Sleep apnea involves a blockage of the air passageways, usually by tissue at the back of the throat or by a tendency for the tongue to fall back. The most obvious symptom of sleep apnea, heavy snoring, is the sound of the tissues as air is trying to pass through them.

The key to eliminating the blockage is to keep the mouth and jaws open correctly. While CPAP as a sleep apnea treatment does this with a steady flow of air, a dental appliance guides your jaws into proper position.

The advantages of dental orthotics as a sleep disorder treatment

Using a dental appliance is comfortable and the appliance is removable. Unlike CPAP, you can use the appliance anywhere; in hotels or even outdoors as it needs no electricity. If the noise of a CPAP machine bothers you or your sleeping partner, the silence of a dental appliance will be appreciated. It is comfortable and custom fit to your mouth by a dentist.

Diagnosis and treatment

You can only be diagnosed for a sleep disorder by a doctor, but you can seek treatment for sleep apnea from our Westminster dentist . If you would like to learn more about dental orthotics as a CPAP alternative, contact us to set up a consultation appointment.

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About the author

A practicing dentist since 1982, Dr. Gary Imm, provides advanced cosmetic dentistry, including smile makeovers, sedation, implant and TMJ services. He is committed to progressive, extraordinary care for his guests. All Smiles Dental Care trains at least 300 hours each year at such prestigious centers as the Las Vegas Institute of Advanced Dentistry. (LVI)