Because CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) has long been considered the “gold standard” for sleep apnea treatment, it’s commonly prescribed as a frontline treatment. However, many people find that they can’t adapt to CPAP. This puts many people in the situation where they have to learn to transition from CPAP to a mouthguard (also called an oral appliance) in treating their sleep apnea.
Here’s how you do it.
Understand CPAP Trial Period
Because insurance companies know that many people can’t adapt to CPAP, they often have a built-in trial period. On the one hand, this is designed to give you time to try out CPAP and find out if it’s right for you.
On the other hand, these periods are supposed to help protect the insurance company. They want to avoid having to take back too many of the machines. That’s why these trial periods often come with very strict guidelines about when you can return your CPAP machine for a refund. If you don’t comply with these guidelines, you might end up being stuck paying for the CPAP machine, even if it doesn’t work for you.
Ever wonder why there are so many “barely used” CPAP machines for sale on eBay? Many of these are people who didn’t pay attention to the return guidelines for their machines and got stuck with them.
Make Sure You’re a Candidate
Most people with sleep apnea can take advantage of mouthguard therapy for their condition. However, not everyone can. Here are some factors to consider.
Mouthguards work best for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea. If this describes you, then you can skip right to getting a mouthguard. However, for severe sleep apnea, it’s usually considered best to try CPAP first, then switch to a mouthguard if necessary.
Mouthguards also work best for people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, but sometimes people have central sleep apnea either instead of or in addition to their OSA, a mouthguard may not be a good treatment choice.
Schedule a Consultation
If you want to switch from CPAP to an oral appliance, your next step should be scheduling a consultation with a sleep dentist. A sleep dentist is trained in the proper methods to fit an oral appliance. They can help you get the best benefit from your oral appliance, including finding the best appliance, having a comfortable fit, and getting the best results.
When choosing a sleep dentist, make sure you choose one that understands TMJ as well as OSA. That way, you will get an oral appliance that helps sleep apnea but is also healthy for your bite and jaw.
Are You Looking to Switch in Denver?
Are you unhappy with CPAP and want to learn how to switch to an oral appliance (mouthguard) in the Denver area? Please call (303) 691-0267 today for an appointment with sleep dentist Dr. Kevin Berry or Dr. Kary Berry at the TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.