Sleep Apnea Treatment Comparison: Oral Appliance Therapy vs. CPAP By drednarcisi on June 15, 2024

Aggravated woman next to her snoring spouse

Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous condition characterized by a pattern of breathing that starts and stops while a person sleeps. The most common type of this disorder is obstructive sleep apnea, caused by a blockage of the upper airway.

Sleep apnea treatment is essential to improving sleep and preventing health complications related to the condition. Two effective sleep apnea treatments are oral appliance therapy and a CPAP machine. Dr. Edward Narcisi of the Center of Dental Excellence, which serves Monroeville, PA, and Pittsburgh, PA, offers patients a sleep apnea treatment comparison of oral appliances vs. CPAP to help determine which can best benefit them.

Risks of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea causes breathing to stop repeatedly throughout the night. Although people do not always realize it, sleep apnea disrupts sleep, preventing many from reaching the REM phase essential for rest and recuperation. Additionally, sleep apnea increases the risk of several health problems. Quality sleep is vital to cardiovascular and metabolic health. When sleep apnea is uncontrolled, individuals face an increased risk of complications such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Shortened lifespan

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliances are an effective sleep apnea treatment. An oral appliance aligns the jaw and pushes it forward to keep a patient’s throat open while they sleep. When worn, oral appliances minimize snoring and open airways to promote even breathing.

Individuals can obtain an oral appliance from a dentist who offers sleep apnea treatment, such as Dr. Narcisi. The appliance is custom-fit to each patient so it fits comfortably and securely. The slim appliance is a simple and convenient solution for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

CPAP Treatment

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is another treatment option for sleep apnea sufferers. A CPAP machine includes a facial mask that patients wear over the nose, mouth, or both. The mask connects to a plastic hose that delivers air. The mild air pressure keeps breathing airways open while a patient sleeps.

Individuals can obtain a CPAP prescription from any medical doctor, but most see a sleep specialist. The doctor consults with patients to determine the type of sleep apnea, the most appropriate machine, the best-fitting sleep mask for the patient, and the right pressure settings for the system. Some patients have difficulty adjusting to a CPAP machine, but when used, it is an effective treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea.

Choosing the Right Treatment

Our Monroeville patients often wonder if they are better candidates for an oral appliance or a CPAP machine. Dr. Narcisi helps patients determine the most appropriate treatment option by considering various factors, such as the type and degree of sleep apnea and their comfort level using each device. Some patients may benefit from both an oral appliance and a CPAP machine.

Contact Us

Do you snore, wake up repeatedly throughout the night, or constantly feel tired? If so, you may be suffering from sleep apnea. To discuss your concerns with Dr. Edward Narcisi and learn more about sleep apnea treatment options, contact our dental practice and schedule an appointment at your earliest convenience.

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Dr. Edward Narcisi, DMD

Edward Narcisi, DMD

Dr. Narcisi is devoted to helping patients achieve stunning, healthy smiles through comprehensive dental care. He is a member of many prestigious associations, including: 

  • American Dental Association
  • Pennsylvania Dental Association
  • American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry 
  • Academy of Osseointegration 

To schedule a consultation at the Center for Dental Excellence, request an appointment online or call us at (412) 373-9447.

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