This week, we’re highlighting a comfortable C-PAP alternative that we’ve had a lot of success with over the years- dental appliances.
In previous blogs, we’ve discussed how sleep apnea may be a curable condition with weight management, in-office procedures, or surgery in many cases. But even for those who cannot “fix” their sleep apnea, there are still ways to address your condition without C-PAP machines.
For many sleep apnea sufferers, C-PAP machines are what they are told is the standard solution to their condition. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissues in the mouth and back of the throat relax during sleep, obstructing airflow, causing you to stop breathing at night. C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines provide a continuous flow of high-pressure air that keeps the airway from collapsing during sleep. The devices are clinically proven to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms, increase patients’ sleep quality, and benefit their overall health.
But C-PAPs aren’t the best option for everyone.
Dr. A. Tuck was prescribed a C-PAP by her pulmonologist after her sleep study revealed she had moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, her C-PAP only added to her symptoms.
“It caused me to cough; it made my throat feel dry and sore. It wasn’t so much sleeping with the apparatus on my head… it was the air coming through my nose.”
Dr. Tuck asked her pulmonologist about an alternative OSA treatment to C-PAP but was told the machine was her only option. She sought out second opinions, but “every doctor I spoke to thought that C-PAP was the end-all-be-all.”
With more than 20 years under her belt as an educator at the collegiate level, Dr. Tuck knew that there must be another answer, and she wasn’t afraid to do her homework to find it.
“I don’t believe in the word ‘no.’ I always taught my students that there’s more than one answer to every question. ”
One day, Dr. Tuck saw a familiar face on television who brought new hope to her predicament- Dr. Raza Pasha. “I saw him on Great Day Houston being interviewed by Deborah Duncan.” Dr. Pasha was discussing dental appliances as an effective way to alleviate obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.
Dental appliances work by positioning the jaw forward or, more accurately, preventing the jaw from going backward at night so that the airways remain stinted open. While C-PAPs force open collapsed airways by blasting air through them, dental appliances prevent the airways from collapsing in the first place. For select patients who suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, these devices can alleviate symptoms without a C-PAP.
“It was like divine intervention; everything just came together,” said Dr. Tuck. She made an appointment with the Pasha Snoring and Sinus Center, where she was surprised that Dr. Pasha utilizes the latest equipment for dental appliance fitting, including digital mouth scans that produce a 3D image of the mouth to produce an almost flawless fit as opposed to biting into the more error-prone molding for your impressions.
Two months after receiving her device, she is pleased with the effect it has had on her life.
“I feel much better, I look better, and I’m moving around faster!”
Sleep apnea is nothing to sniff (or snore) at. Left untreated, the condition can lead to a host of negative health effects such as weight gain, high blood pressure, even heart attack. When asked why she was willing to go through so much effort to find the right sleep doctor for her, Dr. Tuck replied, “I don’t want to die young if I can help it.”
Compliance is a big problem when it comes to OSA treatment. Studies have shown that a significant proportion of OSA patients who are prescribed a C-PAP either never fill their prescription or abandon use of the machine within five years.
At the Pasha Snoring and Sinus Center, we understand that comfort is vital to a good night’s sleep. If patients aren’t comfortable using their C-PAP, they’re less likely to use it. In that case, merely prescribing a machine is not a real solution. Therefore, we’ve created our own in-house program for creating dental appliances as well as numerous other options for sleep apnea sufferers.
If you or someone you love is not using your C-PAP due to discomfort, consider making an appointment at the Pasha Snoring and Sinus Center. Why risk your health when a comfortable solution is only a phone call or click away?