Frustrated with CPAP? Looking for an alternative?
You aren’t alone. Studies estimate that 4 out of 10 people can’t tolerate CPAP.
In fact, after 6 months, only 50% of people will wear it greater than 4 hours a night.
This means that for many people, obstructive sleep apnoea is being untreated half the night with consequent risks.
The risks of untreated obstructive sleep apnoea
The most common complaints of OSA include snoring, unrefreshed sleep, unexplained tiredness or fatigue or daytime sleepiness or drowsiness.
Obstructive sleep apnoea is also known to increase serious health risks such as
High blood pressure
Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
Now, the latest research is also linking the repeated oxygen deprivation to brain injury and the early onset of memory loss or increased risk of dementia.
Oral appliances are a front line treatment alternative to CPAP
Oral appliances for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea work by opening up the airway at the most common site of collapse. This is at the level of the base of the tongue.
By holding the lower jaw forward during sleep, the tongue which is attached to the lower jaw is also pulled forward. This helps to prevent the tongue base from falling into the back of the throat during sleep.
Compared to CPAP, oral appliances are
Easy and comfortable to wear
Discrete and quiet
Portable and convenient
Whilst they do not reduce obstructive events to the same degree as CPAP, growing research has demonstrated that they are equally effective in terms of reducing health risks. This is after taking into account patient preference, and the average nightly duration of use.
As a result, in 2015, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine updated it’s Guidelines. It now recommends that oral appliances are better than no treatment, and that they should be offered as a front line treatment alternative to CPAP to patients diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnoea.
Choosing a dentist for oral appliance therapy
Whilst any dentist can fabricate an oral appliance for obstructive sleep apnoea, not all are equally qualified to manage this serious medical condition.
The most important factor when choosing a dentist are to look for one who is qualified in dental sleep medicine and who will work with your sleep or medical physician to manage your health risks. Their experience and familiarity with different appliances will also help to achieve the best outcomes for you. They will also let you know if there are any other options that are better suited for you.
Dr Shereen Lim was one of the first Perth dentists to complete the Graduate Diploma in Dental Sleep Medicine through UWA, and is experienced in the dental management of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea with these devices.
Assessing your suitability
If you have had no success with CPAP, or would prefer the option of an oral appliance, the next step is an assessment of your suitability by Dr Lim.
You can either discuss this option with your physician and request a referral to Dr Lim, or you can book directly with us for a consultation. Either way, we will arrange for a copy of your records and sleep study results for review prior to treatment.
CONTACT US to organise a consultation or for any further information.