What is CPAP?
CPAP is a machine that provides a constant flow of air at a specific pressure to the upper airway during sleep. The machine is connected to a pump that forces air through a tube connected to a mask that’s then delivered into your airway. The constant stream of air helps keep the airway open and unobstructed while preventing it from collapsing. Some CPAP machines also have heated humidifiers built-in.
CPAP is known as the gold standard for sleep apnea treatment because, in controlled studies, it has been shown to be 100% effective. CPAP is also effective for every type and severity of sleep apnea. So, regardless of if you have central or obstructive sleep apnea or severe or mild sleep apnea, a CPAP will help you sleep uninterrupted nightly as long as you wear it consistently.
There are a few different ways CPAP can deliver constant air.
One of the first options is the nasal CPAP which is the most common. The nasal mask covers only the nose and has nasal prongs that go directly inside the nostrils. Many CPAP wearers find this option comfortable due to the mask’s small size.
This option administers CPAP through a tube that’s placed in the nose and ends in the nasopharynx. The tube delivers CPAP further down by bypassing the nasal cavity.
The full face mask option is best for patients who mouth breathe when they sleep. The mask covers both the mouth and the nose. It’s beneficial to those who experience nasal congestion or obstruction.
What Can I Expect?
Although CPAP is highly effective, nearly 50% of users abandon their treatment. Getting adjusted to CPAP can take time because you have to get used to wearing something on your face while you sleep and, ideally, sleeping on your back. You also have to get used to the feeling of air being pushed into your airway. Usually, it only takes a few days or weeks to get used to wearing CPAP. After you’re used to it, though, you will sleep soundlessly throughout the night and wake up feeling refreshed.
CPAP has other side effects that are worth noting if you’re considering CPAP treatment in Omaha.
- Uncomfortable breathing: While this seems counterintuitive, it’s actually a common complaint while patients are getting used to wearing their CPAP. At first, it can be difficult to get used to breathing out against the air pressure of CPAP, and it can give the illusion of shortness of breath.
- Dry mouth: Another common complaint is a dry mouth. This usually occurs if you sleep with your mouth open. To prevent this, you can use the face mask, which will help to keep your mouth closed.
- Bloating: CPAP can cause bloating if air gets into your gastrointestinal tract. Talk to your doctor about turning down the pressure on your machine.
- Claustrophobia: Feeling claustrophobic is common when first starting to use a CPAP machine. To try to get used to your CPAP faster, try wearing it while awake for a few minutes multiple times a day.
Our number one goal is to help you find a treatment you can use consistently. If you feel you can’t get used to the CPAP, give Oral Appliance Therapy a try. It’s a machine-free, mask-free treatment that’ll have you sleeping better in no time.
Who is a Good Candidate for CPAP?
Anyone who has a sleep apnea diagnosis is a good candidate for CPAP. However, if you have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, you have other options, too. We recommend scheduling an appointment with our sleep dentist in Omaha to find out if CPAP is the best treatment option for you or if we should consider other options. We may even recommend a combined therapy for sleep apnea that involves wearing an oral appliance and using CPAP during sleep. Doing this may allow you to sleep in any position, lowers the pressure on the CPAP, and eliminates the straps, making the CPAP much, much easier to wear.
If a doctor previously prescribed CPAP and you’re unhappy with the treatment or find it too uncomfortable, that’s okay. We offer different sleep apnea treatments to choose from. Our ultimate goal is to help you find a treatment you feel comfortable using on a consistent basis. Consistent use will help you achieve the best results for your overall health.
Oral Appliance Therapy is one CPAP alternative that many find comfortable and effective. An oral appliance is a small, sleek orthotic worn in your mouth each time you sleep. It alleviates symptoms and allows a good night’s sleep. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day. Maybe you already have a CPAP machine and find that it isn’t a great solution for you. Oral Appliance Therapy is an effective alternative to CPAP in many cases.
Schedule an Appointment With a Sleep Dentist in Omaha
If you’re searching for a sleep apnea treatment in Omaha, our sleep dentist can help. Schedule an appointment at Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center today by calling (402) 493-4175. Our sleep dentist will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and recommend the best sleep apnea treatment for your needs.