Sleep Apnea Problems: CPAP versus Oral Appliances for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a serious medical problem and is defined as a periodic disruption in breathing while asleep which causes oxygen shortages to the body.  This shortage can cause medical problems from strokes to high blood pressure, to cardiac arrest and many more.

CPAP machines have been used to try and help these patients by forcing air into the lungs during sleep.  However, many patients are CPAP intolerant and unable or do not use their machines on a regular basis.  Studies have shown that CPAP machines have a 60% failure rate, whereas the compliance for oral appliances is high.

In our practice, I find it interesting that those patients with severe sleep seem to tolerate and accept the CPAP much more than those with mild to moderate sleep apnea.  In fact, it is interesting that those with mild to moderate sleep apnea comprise about 90% of the oral appliances that we work with in our office.  This all seems to fall in line with the recommendations from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, whose standards state that the first line of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea is an oral appliance.

Additionally, there is some correlation between TMJ and sleep apnea, whereas they are not connected in all cases, it is important to be able to know when they are.  In many cases it is important to treat the sleep apnea first then understand how to incorporate TMJ treatment into the protocol and then finally cosmetic dentistry if the patient desires.

From a personal perspective, it is truly rewarding to be able to help our patients from a health perspective, which is why I have personally extended my studies to helping these patients and their health.  The other factor is that sleep apnea in some cases overlaps with TMJ and bruxism, which is the subject of another article.

If you have any questions with regards to Houston Oral Sleep Appliances, Houston TMJ, or Houston Dental Sleep Appliances please feel free to contact our office, Ronald W. Konig DDS, FAGD, LVIF    713-668-2289

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