You might think that just because your doctor’s diagnosed CPAP, that’s how you have to treat your sleep apnea. If you don’t like the idea of CPAP, you should get a second opinion about sleep apnea treatment.
So, you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea. This often leads to a number of conflicted feelings. Many people are relieved to finally know what is causing their chronic fatigue, morning headaches, and more. They are excited to finally get treatment so they can start sleeping better and living a richer life.
On the other hand, many people dread the thought of CPAP. The very idea of having to strap on an invasive apparatus before bed, makes them despair. Wearing it essentially every night for the rest of their lives seems a terrible burden. And it is a terrible burden, which is why more than half of people prescribed CPAP don’t use it long term.
You might think that just because your doctor’s diagnosed CPAP, that’s how you have to treat your sleep apnea. Not true! If you don’t like the idea of CPAP, you should get a second opinion about sleep apnea treatment.
Oral Appliances Are Frontline Treatments
In the past, oral appliances were used as a secondary treatment. When CPAP failed to give results (usually because people couldn’t or wouldn’t use it regularly), oral appliances were seen as a viable option.
However, research shows that, overall, oral appliances are just as effective as CPAP for sleep apnea. As a result, oral appliances are now considered a frontline sleep apnea treatment for most people with sleep apnea. Unless your sleep apnea is particularly severe or it’s a type that won’t respond to oral appliances (central sleep apnea or mixed with a heavy central component), you can get oral appliance therapy without ever trying CPAP.
Insurance Covers Oral Appliances
Another misconception is that your insurance will only cover CPAP for sleep apnea. Insurance coverage is evidence-based, and now that the evidence supports oral appliance therapy, insurance companies are happy to pay for oral appliance therapy when appropriate.
Not only is oral appliance therapy likely to cost them (and you) less money over time, it saves them from having to first pay for CPAP, then pay for an oral appliance later when you fail to adapt to CPAP.
Get a Second Opinion before You Commit
At a minimum, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion before starting CPAP. That way, you can make an informed decision.
Doctors, who often assume CPAP is the best option, may not have thoroughly evaluated you as a candidate for oral appliances. Seeing a sleep dentist will let you get an evaluation of your jaw, your tongue, and your airway to see if an oral appliance will work for you. You might be a perfect candidate for an oral appliance, but a poor candidate for CPAP (not wanting to try CPAP already puts you off to a rough start).
If you are currently struggling with CPAP, see our tips for giving CPAP a fair shot, but maybe it’s time to see a sleep dentist.
If you are looking for a sleep dentist in Denver, please call (303) 691-0267 today for an appointment at the TMJ Therapy and Sleep Center of Colorado. We can give you an honest and complete assessment to see if you’re a good candidate for oral appliance therapy.