Traditional CPAP Machines are Bulky, Noisy Travel Companions; Your Dentist May Have a Simple, Silent and Convenient Alternative
The family vacation … it’s a summer tradition. When the kids are out of school and the summer breezes are blowing, parents take to the open road to create cherished family memories. Unfortunately, and more often than not, family vacations also result in some unforgettable headaches along the way. While sharing a hotel room with the kids can be considered a rite of passage, it can also be a challenge. Especially if mom or dad is one of the estimated 25 million adults in the U.S. who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.
The standard continuous airway pressure (CPAP) machine is the traditional, yet unpopular, treatment for the disorder. In addition to taking up valuable space when packing for vacation, CPAP machines can be loud and may affect the sleep of those who are sharing a room. St. Louis based Ellis Dental is now offering patients an easy to pack, silent and convenient solution for treating sleep apnea. As a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), Dr. Holly Ellis is pleased to offer oral appliance therapy, a great alternative for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. The size of a traditional retainer, the appliances also eliminate the need for an electrical outlet, making them perfect for families who like to camp or travel to remote locations.
Dental sleep medicine is a growing segment of dentistry which focuses on managing snoring and sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy, a proven and effective alternative to the standard CPAP machine and mask. According to the AADSM, up to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not comply with or tolerate CPAP. Oral appliances are less cumbersome and more discreet for both the snorer and their partner. In addition, surveys reveal that single adults are also twice as likely to prefer oral appliance therapy over CPAP therapy. “Sleeping with a CPAP machine, which includes a face mask, tubing and a constantly running motor, can be difficult. Most people are unaware that an effective and comfortable alternative treatment is available,” Ellis said.
Studies indicate oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option that offers a higher rate of patient compliance than CPAP. “Our team individually works with our patients, as well as our sleep physician partners, to identify the right oral appliance device, custom fit devices to each patient and make any needed adjustments to ensure an open airway and a more restful sleep.”
In contrast to a CPAP machine, oral appliances are a mouth guard-like device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway. Patients like oral appliance therapies because they are comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, and caring for the appliance is easy. “The devices are also covered by many insurance plans,” Ellis said. “Typically, the patient’s out-of-pocket cost is typically minimal.”
Translated as “want of breath,” sleep apnea is a serious issue that can cause a person to stop breathing several hundred times per night, anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. Left untreated, sleep apnea can be life threatening. It can also dramatically increase the risk for many serious health issues including high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.