When it comes to your health, if you suffer from sleep apnea, it is important to find the right treatment before further complications begin. With sleep apnea, treatment will depend on what your dentist or sleep physician recommends. Typically, after a diagnosis of sleep apnea you have two main options: oral appliance therapy or continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, therapy. Let’s take a closer look.

What is recommended

The evidence is clear with oral appliance therapy. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliance therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. But is this treatment better for everyone than a CPAP machine? It depends.

Some patients with severe sleep apnea will need a CPAP machine, while others can receive appropriate treatment with an oral appliance. The best device will be the one that you will actually use and can tolerate. Remember, though, untreated sleep apnea can lead to further complications, so complete treatment as recommended. 

A look at the differences

To help you better understand oral appliance therapy and CPAP therapy, we have created a chart that showcases a few of the differences:

Oral Appliance TherapyCPAP Therapy
Physically moves the lower jaw forward, repositions the structures forming the airway to open the obstruction. Uses air pressure through a tube and mask worn over the nose or mouth to force air through the obstruction. 
Covered by medical insurance.Covered by medical insurance.
Can easily be stored in a small container or purse for ease travel accommodations. Difficult to store while traveling. You must travel with all appropriate cords and adapters in order to properly work. 
Does not need electricity. Requires the use of electricity. 
Is comfortable to wear.Can be uncomfortable to wear and sleep with. 
Doesn’t make any noises. Makes a noise while on.
Can open mouth, talk, drink water, and walk to be able to go to the bathroom while wearing. Cannot open mouth or talk while wearing, and can’t walk to the bathroom without having to disconnect. 
The differences between oral appliance therapy and CPAP therapy

Both products allow a patient with OSA to breathe properly while sleeping. For patients who are CPAP non-compliant, oral appliance therapy may be the right treatment option. But it is important to seek medical treatment for sleep apnea as soon as you get diagnosed. If you think you or a loved one has sleep apnea, contact Dr. Mayoor Patel at Craniofacial Pain & Dental Sleep Center of Georgia for more information.