At Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, we want to help our patients achieve the best health possible. As part of this mission, we’re here to provide all the pros and cons of every treatment available. When it comes to treating sleep apnea, CPAP has always been considered the gold standard in terms of effectiveness. Although CPAP is highly effective, it can have major effects on one’s lifestyle that may lead to short-term compliance—which isn’t the best for overall health. Discover the different ways CPAP can affect your lifestyle.
One of the biggest ways CPAP can affect your lifestyle is with nightly comfort. Wearing CPAP isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world. If you’re claustrophobic or struggle to get in a comfortable position to fall asleep, to begin with, CPAP might not be the best option for you.
CPAP consists of wearing a mask over your mouth and nose, or just over your nose. There are also straps that go around your entire head. The mask can cause skin irritation, dry mouth, sore throat, congestion, stomach bloating and discomfort, runny nose, sinus problems, and chest muscle discomfort.
If someone is a light sleeper or feels claustrophobic, they may find it impossible to feel comfortable enough wearing a CPAP mask to fall asleep. The entire purpose of CPAP is to help patients with sleep apnea get a good night of sleep. If they can’t get a good night of sleep wearing the mask, the entire treatment is counterproductive.
Another way CPAP can affect your lifestyle is by being inconvenient. If you travel often or enjoy camping, CPAP is not the best treatment for you. In order to use CPAP, you need access to electricity. This isn’t possible if you want to go off the grid for a few nights. It can also increase travel expenses because you will have to check an extra bag on any flight to bring your CPAP. If you’re traveling to another country, you will also need to purchase outlet converters and check to ensure they cover the correct wattage. CPAP is only convenient to people who sleep in the same bed every night. If you plan to travel or stay the night with a friend or partner, be prepared to lug your CPAP with you.
If you can comfortably wear CPAP every night, you will start feeling its effects. CPAP helps those with sleep apnea continue breathing consistently throughout the night. This means you won’t wake up hundreds of times throughout the night to catch your breath. As a result, CPAP can help you feel more energized during the day and reduce other sleep apnea symptoms like morning headaches, irritability, concentration problems, weight gain, or inability to gain weight. Additionally, CPAP can help reduce the serious health complications associated with untreated sleep apnea such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and more.
For some people, long-term compliance with CPAP is easy. But for others, staying compliant with a treatment they find uncomfortable or inconvenient is rare. When it comes to effectively treating sleep apnea to increase the quality of life and overall health, long-term compliance is important. Without long-term compliance, symptoms and health risks can reemerge.
So what should you do if CPAP isn’t working for you? Explore your other treatment options.
CPAP Alternative: Oral Appliance Therapy
At Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, we offer an alternative to CPAP—oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are worn inside your mouth and look similar to mouthguards. Instead of applying constant air pressure, oral appliances reposition your tissues to keep your airway open to help you breathe seamlessly throughout the night. Sleep apnea is often caused as a result of soft tissue collapsing into the throat when the body relaxes to sleep. By repositioning the jaw and airway tissues, it cannot collapse when the body relaxes.
There are also some oral appliances on the market that can correct sleep apnea by repositioning the upper palate or tongue if they’re the cause of airway obstruction.
Oral appliances are comfortable to wear and convenient to travel with. They’re no larger to travel with than a small mouthguard case. You also don’t need to stay close to electricity to treat your sleep apnea. Simply pop the oral appliance in your mouth before you go to sleep, and clean it in the morning. It’s that simple to treat sleep apnea.
Lastly, oral appliances are just as effective as CPAP for treating mild to moderate sleep apnea. Since they’re so comfortable and convenient, long-term compliance is much better.
The only downside to oral appliances is that they’re not effective for severe obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and they can cause TMJ problems if they’re not properly fitted.
At Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness, Dr. Haddad has extensive knowledge and experience treating both TMJ and sleep apnea. When we provide you with an oral appliance, we’re not only helping you treat sleep apnea, but also optimizing your bite to prevent TMJ disorder.
Change Your Health, Not Your Life—Get Oral Appliance Therapy in Rochester
If you’re not happy with CPAP and how it affects your lifestyle. Consider searching for an alternative sleep apnea treatment. Contact our Troy office at (248) 480-0085 to book an appointment and find out if oral appliances are right for you.