The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine has long existed as the “go-to” treatment plan for patients suffering from sleep apnea. It only makes sense–a great way to prevent the airways from collapsing in the back of the mouth is to force air through them. Unfortunately, many people are “CPAP rejects,” struggling to adjust to the “side-effects” of the machine, such as discomfort, dry mouth, and inability to sleep.
Several years ago, our practice discovered the mandibular advancement device (MAD) as an alternative treatment to sleep apnea. These devices are not only more comfortable, but they avoid some of the common “side-effects” of the CPAP machine altogether! Learn more about MAD and if it may be right for you.
Problems with the CPAP Machine
Below are some of the common complaints reported by patients struggling with their CPAP machine:
- Discomfort – A lot of people find the CPAP mask, worn over the course of the night, to be very uncomfortable. Although the masks come in a variety of styles and sizes, it can be impossible to find a “perfect fit” when you are not used to wearing something on your face while you sleep. Some people describe their CPAP mask as “claustrophobic.” The forced air distributed by the CPAP machine can also be difficult for some people to tolerate.
- Dry Mouth and Nose – Because the CPAP machine forces air through your airways while you sleep, your mouth and nasal passages can dry out, causing irritation.
- Skin Irritation – Depending on the style of CPAP mask you have chosen, the mask rests against parts of your nose, mouth, forehead, and chin. As you move around in your sleep, rubbing on these pressure points can cause irritation.
- Trouble Falling and Staying Asleep – This can be caused by a variety of things. Mask discomfort, forced air intolerance, and skin irritation can all contribute to challenges with sleeping while using a CPAP machine. The CPAP machine also makes a lot of noise–especially older models–which can prove challenging for some people.
- Difficulty Keeping the Mask On – People who toss and turn in their sleep find it difficult to keep their CPAP mask on over the course of the night.
An Effective Alternative to the CPAP Machine
The mandibular advancement device (MAD) is more comfortable than the CPAP machine, does not force air, and does not require users to stay on their back while they sleep–you can roll around in a MAD device without knocking it out!
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) are worn in the mouth and work by progressing the patient’s jaw forward, with minor adjustments over time. This prevents the lower jaw and tongue from slipping back in the mouth to block the airways. These devices are custom-made and can be very comfortable! At Mandanas Dental, we use Panthera and SomnoDent brands of devices if you would like to learn more.
If you are interested in mandibular advancement for the treatment of your sleep apnea, give Dr. Mandanas a call! Dr. Mandanas is an integrative dentist who cares about the impact of sleep apnea treatment on the rest of the body. She would love to hear your concerns about the CPAP machine and help you return to comfortable, healthy nights of sleep!