You roll over and hit the button to turn off the machine. You know it’s supposed to help, but you can’t see how.
You try to fall asleep with the mask on your face, but you can’t. You were out in the sun mowing the grass and your face is more irritated than anything.
If that was the only issue, you would just resolve to remember to put on sunscreen next time (which you really should do anyway) and keep using the machine.
But the problems are bigger than that. Sometimes you get tangled in the hose when you are trying to fall asleep. Finding a comfortable position where the hose isn’t in the way can be tricky some nights.
Other times, you aren’t sure how well the machine is working. You wake up gasping for breath, and you have to make adjustments to the hose and the mask before it feels right again.
You want to treat your sleep apnea for your sake and the sake of your spouse, but this CPAP machine sometimes seems like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
If you can relate to this scenario, we want you to consider calling Beaumont Family Dentistry if you live in or near Lexington, KY. We may have the alternative to the CPAP that won’t irritate your sunburnt skin, that does not require a mask, and that does not have any hoses to interfere with your sleep.
The Dental Treatment For Sleep Apnea
You may not think, “I should call the dentist,” when you think about sleep apnea, but there is a way we can help.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has approved oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea. For patients with mild or moderate sleep apnea, this can be an effective primary treatment.
For patients with severe sleep apnea, oral appliances may be recommended if they have difficulty using a CPAP machine consistently.
As we described above, CPAP machines can cause a variety of new issues. Some people are bothered by the mask. Others are bothered by the hoses, and others have falling asleep because the noises made by the machine when it is working.
A dentist can create a custom-made oral appliance to help you sleep better.
How Sleep Apnea Treatments Are Similar
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of this sleep disorder.
People with OSA have trouble breathing because their muscles relax when they fall asleep. As those tissues relax, they can block their airways.
This can limit airflow (which can amplify the sound of their snoring) or block their airways completely. When their breathing stops, their body will wake them up, often just long enough to take another breath before they doze off again.
This can happen up to 14 times per hours for someone who has mild sleep apnea.
To treat OSA, you need to find a way to keep your airways open.
CPAP machines do this by pushing air into your mouth, nose, or both. (CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.) When used correctly, this forces your airways to remain open by through the use of air pressure.
This allows you to keep breathing so you don’t wake up over and over throughout the night. If you aren’t using the machine consistently, then you aren’t really treating your sleep apnea.
The oral appliance is intended to keep your airways open, too.
The oral appliance works by adjusting the position of your jaw. When you have the appliance in your mouth, it moves your jaw forward slightly.
This helps to keep your airways open, too, and that means you can continue breathing while you are asleep.
Adjusting To An Oral Appliance
We want to be clear. You will probably need a little time to adjust if you do get an oral appliance.
As you become more comfortable having the mouthguard in your mouth, it will become easier to fall asleep with it in place. As your muscles adapt to having the mouthguard, you will have less trouble falling and remaining asleep.
As you comfort increases, you will get more of the deep, refreshing sleep that health experts believe is important for all of us.
Can We Help You?
If you feel like you are spending night after night fighting with your CPAP machine, it may be time to call the nearest Beaumont Family Dentistry. You can make an appointment by phone or by contacting us online.
You — and your spouse — deserve to sleep well. If we can help, we would be happy to do so.