If you suffer from sleep apnea, a CPAP, which stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, is generally the first choice in treatment prescribed by sleep centers.
How a CPAP works
A CPAP is basically a mask hooked up to a machine that a sleep apnea patient must wear throughout the night. The mask uses pressure to send air flowing through the nasal passages. This stream of air keeps the throat from collapsing during sleep, such as happens with obstructive sleep apnea, and allows the patient to breathe freely throughout the night. While it may be the most popular sleep apnea treatment, it is also the least tolerated. It is not an easy device to comply to.
It requires the use of a mask over a patient’s nose and mouth, and must be worn nightly, preferably all night. For people who sleep on their stomachs, this is very annoying. Others, who don’t mind sleeping on their back the whole night, have had problems such as face breakouts from the straps, eye and nasal irritation, mouth dryness, runny nose and sore throat. Allergy patients may also struggle with wearing the mask all night.
If you’re a patient who is less than thrilled with their CPAP macine, we may have a solution.
Alternatives to the CPAP
If you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are now the preferred treatment by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Bolt uses a TAP device (Thornton Anterior Positioning), pictured left. It is fitted to your teeth like a mouth guard. It is designed to reposition your lower jaw forward slightly during sleep to keep your air passage unobstructed. They are much more comfortable than a CPAP machine.
Dr. Bolt is a sleep apnea sufferer and understands the problems it causes. Not all cases will be helped by an oral appliance. Dr. Bolt can examine you and determine the severity of your case. If you are having problems tolerating your CPAP, you may request an appointment with our office today.