CPAP therapy, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure therapy, is commonly used as the first-line treatment for sleep apnea. CPAP therapy involves wearing a mask over the nose and/or mouth during sleep, which is connected to a machine that delivers a constant flow of air to keep the airway open.
While CPAP therapy has proven highly effective for many individuals with sleep apnea, it may not be the right choice for everyone. In such cases, it is important to explore alternative treatment options to ensure that the disorder is effectively managed.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common yet potentially serious sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep, leading to fragmented and poor-quality rest. These interruptions, known as apneas, can last for a few seconds to minutes and occur multiple times throughout the night. Sleep apnea can have various causes, including the relaxation of throat muscles, obesity, age, and certain medical conditions.
What Are CPAP Machines?
To mitigate the effects of sleep apnea and improve sleep quality, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are often used as a treatment option. CPAP machines work by delivering a constant flow of air pressure through a mask that covers the nose or mouth, keeping the airways open and preventing interruptions in breathing. This steady airflow acts as a splint, ensuring that the air passages do not collapse during sleep and allowing for uninterrupted breathing.
CPAP machines not only help in reducing the frequency and severity of apneas but also provide several other benefits. Improved sleep quality can result in increased energy levels, enhanced cognitive function, and better overall health. CPAP therapy has also been found to reduce the risk of complications associated with untreated sleep apnea, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.
Drawbacks of CPAP therapy
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy is often regarded as the gold standard for treating obstructive sleep apnea. However, despite its effectiveness, there are drawbacks that may hinder some individuals from fully adhering to their OSA treatment plan.
One common problem faced by CPAP users is discomfort. Wearing a mask or nasal prongs with straps that fit snugly around the head can feel claustrophobic for some individuals, making it difficult to sleep comfortably. Additionally, the sound produced by the machine can cause disturbance, further impacting a person’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. Such discomfort may lead to non-compliance with therapy, as users may discontinue or avoid using the CPAP device altogether.
Many people also struggle with the adjustment period of CPAP therapy. It requires time and patience to become accustomed to the feeling of continuous positive airway pressure while sleeping. New users may experience nasal congestion, dryness, or excessive sneezing initially. These side effects can be temporary, but they can be discouraging for individuals who are not prepared or sufficiently educated on what to expect during the treatment. Moreover, being consistent with using the CPAP every night can also be challenging, especially during travel or when staying away from home, making adherence to therapy more difficult.
In addition to the discomfort and adjustment period, CPAP therapy may not be suitable for everyone due to certain factors. Some individuals may have an aversion to the idea of wearing a mask while sleeping or may have psychological barriers that prevent them from fully embracing the treatment. And individuals with underlying nasal or sinus problems, such as severe allergies or structural abnormalities, may find it difficult to tolerate the increased air pressure required for effective obstructive sleep apnea therapy. In such cases, alternative treatment options like oral appliances should be considered.
While CPAP masks and machines have proven to be beneficial for millions of sleep apnea patients, it is essential to be aware of the potential drawbacks and challenges associated with its use. Thankfully, technology and sleep medicine have evolved to provide an alternative to CPAP machine treatment.
Who Might Benefit From CPAP Alternatives?
Individuals who struggle with poor compliance, discomfort, or other issues related to CPAP therapy may benefit from an alternative to CPAP machine therapy.
It is crucial to emphasize the importance of seeking an obstructive sleep apnea treatment option that the patient can follow consistently. Untreated or poorly managed sleep disorders can have severe consequences on overall health. Sleep apnea, for example, is associated with numerous health risks like high blood pressure, heart disease, heart failure, cognitive issues, stroke, and diabetes. Therefore, individuals who are unable to adhere to CPAP therapy should not disregard the significance of finding a suitable alternative.
One of the key advantages of oral appliances is their non-invasive nature. Unlike other treatment options, such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, oral appliances do not require the use of masks or tubes. This makes them comfortable and easy to use, ensuring that patients are more likely to comply with their treatment regimen. Additionally, oral appliances are portable and convenient, allowing individuals to use them not only at home but also while traveling.
Numerous scientific studies have highlighted the effectiveness of oral appliances in improving sleep quality and reducing the severity of sleep apnea. These appliances have been shown to significantly increase airflow, decrease the number of apnea and hypopnea events, and alleviate apnea symptoms such as snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. As a result, patients experience improved sleep patterns, enhanced cognitive function, and a reduction in associated health risks, including cardiovascular issues.
It is important to note that the selection and fitting of oral appliances as alternatives to CPAP machine therapy should be done by qualified healthcare professionals with expertise in dental sleep medicine. They will ensure customization and proper adjustment of the device to suit the individual needs of each patient. Regular follow-ups and adjustments may also be necessary to ensure optimal comfort and ongoing effectiveness.
Alternatives to CPAP Therapy for Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances present a viable alternative for individuals with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea who are unable or unwilling to use CPAP machines. With their non-invasive nature, convenience, and proven efficacy, oral appliances offer an effective means to alleviate symptoms, improve sleep quality, and enhance overall well-being for those affected by this common diagnosis.
There are also a number of lifestyle changes that obstructive sleep apnea patients may use to help improve the condition. Often, a change in behavior can help reduce the apnea symptoms while also reducing the sleep debt and reversing health conditions related to obstructive sleep apnea. However, it’s important to understand that these changes alone may not be enough to treat the sleep disorder. It’s always recommended that if you think you suffer from sleep apnea that you speak with a health professional who is experienced in the treatment of sleep apnea.
Regular exercise has been proven to have numerous health benefits, and one area in which it can be particularly beneficial is in reducing the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Engaging in regular physical activity can help to alleviate these symptoms by improving cardiovascular health and promoting weight loss.
Exercising helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, allowing them to function more efficiently and reducing the strain on the cardiovascular system. This can lead to a significant improvement in breathing patterns during sleep, reducing the frequency and severity of apnea events. Additionally, exercise can aid in weight loss and weight management, as it increases calorie burn and helps to build lean muscle mass. Since excess weight can contribute to the development and progression of obstructive sleep apnea, shedding excess pounds can have a profound impact on reducing symptoms and improving overall sleep quality.
Furthermore, regular exercise can have a positive impact on overall sleep quality and duration. Engaging in physical activity promotes the release of endorphins, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety, leading to a more restful sleep. Exercise has also been shown to regulate and promote the natural sleep cycle, allowing individuals with obstructive sleep apnea to achieve a deeper and more restorative sleep. By incorporating a regular exercise routine into their lifestyle, individuals with obstructive sleep apnea can expect to experience a reduction in symptoms and an improvement in their overall quality of life.
Adopting certain lifestyle changes, such as abstaining from alcohol and other substances, especially in the few hours prior to bed, can greatly benefit individuals diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Alcohol consumption has been shown to increase the severity of OSA symptoms. This is because alcohol acts as a depressant, causing the muscles in the throat and airway to relax excessively. When the muscles relax too much, it can lead to a collapse of the airway, resulting in interrupted sleep and breathing during the night. Additionally, alcohol can disrupt the normal sleep patterns and cycles, making it harder for individuals with sleep apnea to achieve restful sleep.
Positional therapy refers to a non-invasive approach that helps alleviate the symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This therapy method involves encouraging individuals to maintain a specific sleeping position. By encouraging a specific sleeping position, positional therapy aims to reduce airway blockage and improve the overall quality of sleep for individuals suffering from OSA.
Numerous studies have shown that adopting a side sleeping position can significantly decrease the number of apnea episodes and improve oxygen saturation levels and snoring during sleep. Sleeping on the back, on the other hand, often worsens the symptoms of OSA as it allows the tongue and soft tissues of the throat to obstruct the airway. Positional therapy methods aim to discourage sleeping on the back and promote side sleeping, either naturally or with the help of specialized devices like positional pillows or tennis balls attached to the back of a sleep shirt.
The effectiveness of positional therapy varies among individuals, and it may not be a suitable standalone treatment for severe cases of OSA. However, for those with positional OSA, where the apnea events predominantly occur during back sleeping, positional therapy can be an effective and non-invasive option to enhance sleep quality. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for addressing OSA symptoms, which may include positional therapy in combination with other interventions such as continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices or oral appliances.
Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of oral appliances in treating OSA. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine now recognizes oral appliances as a first-line treatment option for mild to moderate OSA and an alternative for patients with severe OSA who are unable to tolerate continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. Oral appliances have been shown to effectively reduce the frequency and duration of apnea episodes, improve oxygen levels, and promote deeper, more restful sleep.
Sleep Apnea Mouth Guards
What makes oral appliances particularly appealing to many patients is their non-invasive nature and relative comfort compared to other treatment options. Unlike CPAP therapy, which involves wearing a mask and being hooked up to a machine that delivers pressurized air, oral appliances are discreet, portable, and easy to use. They allow for natural jaw movement and do not require external power sources, making them a convenient choice for those who travel frequently or have an active lifestyle.
It is important to note that the use of oral appliances should be recommended and monitored by a qualified sleep specialist or dentist trained in dental sleep medicine. Each patient’s condition is unique, and an individualized approach is necessary to determine the most appropriate appliance and treatment plan. With proper selection and adherence, oral appliances can yield significant improvements in sleep quality and overall well-being for individuals suffering from OSA, offering them a potential path to a healthier, more rejuvenating night’s rest.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
A mandibular advancement device (MAD) is a custom-made oral appliance that resembles a mouthguard and is worn during sleep. Its primary function is to position the lower jaw or mandible forward, which helps to keep the airway open and prevents it from collapsing. This mechanism effectively minimizes instances of obstruction and facilitates uninterrupted breathing.
By utilizing a MAD, patients can experience several benefits. Firstly, it reduces snoring, a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea that often affects both the individual and their bed partner’s sleep quality. Secondly, a MAD improves the airflow and oxygen supply, reducing the frequency and severity of apnea episodes. Lastly, it promotes better sleep and breathing, ensuring a more refreshed and rejuvenated state upon waking.
The best mandibular advancement device can be a game-changer for individuals suffering from OSA.
Tongue Retaining Devices
Tongue retaining devices are oral appliances used to treat osa
Tongue retaining devices (TRDs) are oral appliances that have been specifically designed to address obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). TRDs work by holding the tongue in a forward position, preventing it from falling back and obstructing the airway during sleep.
These devices are generally made of a soft, flexible material and are custom-fitted to an individual’s mouth. They are worn during sleep and are effective in treating mild to moderate cases of OSA. TRDs are great alternatives to CPAP mask therapy.
How to Get an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea
A sleep specialist, dentist, or other health professional who specializes in treating obstructive sleep apnea can be a valuable resource when it comes to getting an oral appliance for your diagnosis. These professionals are highly trained and experienced in understanding the intricacies of OSA and its treatment options.
Seeking the help of a sleep specialist is crucial in obtaining an oral appliance. They will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine the severity of your sleep apnea and assess whether an oral appliance is the appropriate treatment option for you. They will also take into consideration any other medical conditions you may have and tailor the treatment plan accordingly.
Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the sleep specialist will guide you through the process of obtaining an oral appliance. They will work closely with you to choose the most suitable device based on your specific needs and preferences. They will ensure that the appliance is properly fitted and provide instructions on how to use and maintain it effectively.
Partnering with an experienced health professional with a meical specialty in treating obstructive sleep apnea can significantly enhance your treatment journey. Their expertise and guidance will help you navigate the complexities of managing sleep apnea, allowing you to achieve a better quality of sleep and improve your overall health and well-being.
Sleep Better Columbus Offers New CPAP Alternatives
Sleep Better Columbus is a trusted sleep apnea clinic dedicated to providing effective treatments for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). With a team of highly trained professionals, they have successfully helped numerous patients overcome OSA without relying on continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines. These specialists understand the unique challenges faced by OSA patients and believe in taking a personalized approach to treatment.
At Sleep Better Columbus, patients receive comprehensive consultations to understand their specific needs and concerns. The experienced sleep specialists conduct thorough assessments to determine the underlying causes and severity of their OSA. Based on these findings, they develop customized treatment plans that are tailored to suit individual requirements.
Located in Columbus, Ohio, Sleep Better Columbus is conveniently accessible to individuals in the area. Patients can easily reach out to these specialists for a consultation and take the first step towards effective OSA treatment. With their years of experience and commitment to patient care, Sleep Better Columbus is the go-to healthcare facility for individuals seeking non-CPAP solutions for their sleep apnea condition. Don’t let sleep apnea disrupt your life any longer – contact Sleep Better Columbus and discover the treatment options that best suit your needs.
Many people don’t want any part of using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to treat their obstructive sleep apnea. If you’re one of these people, did you know there are CPAP alternatives? Experienced sleep specialists understand the importance of finding the right treatment plan for each patient.
I Hate My CPAP
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a chronic disease that needs long-term treatment, and a CPAP machine is recommended as the initial treatment for moderate or severe OSA by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). However, the effectiveness of a CPAP is dependent upon using the machine consistently and correctly.
Many people learn to tolerate their CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines because of the benefits and some people even love their CPAP machines. However, others struggle with their CPAP machines and hate using them for various reasons. If you hate your CPAP, it’s likely you will not use it consistently.
Common CPAP Complaints
Even though there are many potential benefits to using a CPAP machine, many CPAP users either do not use their machine consistently enough to receive any benefits from it or stop using it.
Some common CPAP complaints are:
Masks create feelings of claustrophobia.
Masks cause discomfort, skin irritations, or marks.
The air pressure might be too strong and can be uncomfortable.
Acne breakouts increase for people with acne-prone or sensitive skin.
Waking with a dry mouth and/or stuffy nose.
Breathing feels out of sync.
Wearing a mask to sleep is uncomfortable; some people remove the mask during sleep.
The CPAP machine is too loud, and the noise disrupts sleep.
Forced air through the nose leads to excessive dryness that can lead to irritation and nosebleeds.
The CPAP machine requires periodic cleaning and maintenance.
People prone to sinus infections, bronchitis, or pneumonia may experience an increase in infections.
Why It’s Important to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea
When obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is not treated or not treated effectively, you can experience short-term sleep apnea symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, reduced deep sleep, interrupted sleep, and lack of concentration. If obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated, the short-term symptoms can lead to chronic long-term issues.
It’s important to treat obstructive sleep apnea as soon as possible. Untreated sleep apnea can be a precursor to many debilitating and/or chronic health conditions such as chronic insomnia, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, sexual dysfunction, cardiovascular disease, mental health issues, liver problems, adult asthma, high blood sugar, chronic kidney disease, low blood oxygen levels, a weakened immune system, vision impairment, stroke, heart attack, and even death.
Appropriate treatment of sleep apnea, following a timely diagnosis, may help manage these chronic conditions and keep short-term issues from becoming chronic long-term issues. Health issues from untreated obstructive sleep apnea can degrade a person’s quality of life, and in some instances, untreated OSA may potentially incapacitate affected individuals.
Finding a CPAP Alternative That Works for You
Several nonsurgical CPAP alternatives can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea, and your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment that will work for you. Alternative treatments may include lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime, frequent and/or increased physical exercise, and weight loss when indicated.
Other CPAP alternatives that are nonsurgical treatment options include other PAP (positive airway pressure machines) such as an APAP (auto-adjusting PAP), BPAP (bilevel PAP), or an ASV (adaptive servo-ventilation), oropharyngeal exercises, the use of oral appliances, nasal resistors, and positional therapy.
Sleep Apnea Specialists in Columbus, Ohio
The sleep apnea specialists at Sleep Better Columbus are committed to providing compassionate care for all patients and helping each patient find the best sleep apnea treatment for them. Sleep Better Columbus’s sleep apnea therapy solution is a simple, comfortable solution that will have those with sleep-disordered breathing sleeping better quickly. Their specially designed mouthpieces are an effective and comfortable CPAP alternative for those who are unable or unwilling to wear CPAP masks.
Effective Sleep Apnea Treatment CPAP Alternatives
Oral appliance therapy is a CPAP alternative that is an effective sleep apnea treatment for many people who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). An oral appliance is a specially fitted device custom made by a dentist trained in sleep medicine. An oral device’s primary purpose is to keep the airway open during sleep so the normal flow of air during breathing isn’t blocked.
The most common oral appliances are mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue-retaining devices (TRDs). MADs keep your airway unobstructed by moving your jaw forward, and TRDs keep your tongue from sliding to the back of your mouth and blocking your airway.
A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you, based on factors such as mouth size and degree of snoring, and create a custom-fitted oral appliance. Oral appliances are comfortable, relatively nonintrusive, easily portable, and can be appealing CPAP alternatives that make it easier for people to be compliant with their sleep apnea treatment.
Sleep divorce, an unconventional concept where couples choose to sleep separately for a better night’s rest, is gaining traction. Recent studies suggest that one in three Americans are opting for this arrangement, particularly among couples dealing with conditions like sleep apnea and snoring.
Research indicates that when one bed partner experiences a sleep disorder or sleep-disordered breathing, it can have a detrimental impact on the other person’s sleep quality and overall well-being. The close proximity and shared sleeping environment can amplify the effects, highlighting the importance of addressing and seeking treatment for sleep-related issues to promote harmonious and restful sleep for both individuals involved.
Sleep Disordered Breathing and Its Impact on Relationships
Whilst a sleep divorce can provide relief from the noise and disruptions associated with certain sleep disorders, it also comes at a cost. The absence of physical contact while sleeping can create emotional distance between partners, potentially leading to feelings of isolation or loneliness.
When romantic partners sleep next to one another, their bodies release oxytocin and other chemicals known as the “cuddling hormones.” These hormones foster a sense of closeness between couples. Nevertheless, while these hormones play a significant role, they alone cannot offset the detrimental and long-lasting impacts of a lack of quality sleep.
A sleep divorce can also have detrimental impacts on relationships over time as feelings of resentment can surface, particularly if one partner feels like they are being forced or coerced into sleeping separately.
A Better Alternative to Sleep Divorce: Treating Sleep Apnea
Instead of resorting to a sleep divorce, couples can proactively take steps to address the underlying causes of their sleep-related issues. With the advancements in treatment options for sleep apnea and other related conditions, finding effective solutions has never been easier or more accessible.
The Impact of Sleep Apnea on Sleep Quality
Sleep apnea, particularly Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated interruptions in breathing during sleep. These disruptions can lead to poor sleep quality, daytime fatigue, and a host of other health complications.
It is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you or a loved one may be experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea. A proper diagnosis and treatment can greatly improve sleep quality and overall health. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional for guidance and support.
Snoring, a common symptom of OSA, can also disrupt a partner’s sleep, leading to frustration and strained relationships. In addition to snoring, people who suffer from sleep apnea often experience restless sleep, waking up gasping or choking, and twitches and jerks that not only disrupt their own sleep but their partner’s sleep as well.
The effects of sleep apnea don’t stop when the sufferer wakes up, however. Sleep apnea often results in excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, moodiness, forgetfulness, headaches, and other physical and mental conditions that can lead to problems in the relationship or even outside the home at the workplace and in social situations.
These are other reasons why it is so important to seek sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment.
The Role of Sleep Specialists
Sleep apnea, particularly obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), can have serious effects on overall health, going beyond just disrupted sleep. Left untreated, OSA can lead to higher risks of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. By treating sleep apnea, you’re not only improving your sleep but also taking a significant step towards better overall health.
Professional sleep specialists play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating sleep disorders like sleep apnea. A sleep apnea professional brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. They can provide a comprehensive understanding of your condition, helping you navigate the complexities of sleep apnea. From explaining the underlying causes of your specific form of sleep apnea to exploring how it impacts your overall health and daily life, they equip you with the necessary information to better manage your condition.
Additionally, they guide you through the plethora of treatment options, taking into account your personal needs, lifestyle, and preferences. This helps you make an informed decision about your treatment plan, ensuring it’s not only effective for addressing your sleep apnea but also sustainable in the long run. By collaborating with a sleep apnea specialist, you become an active participant in your healthcare journey, taking strategic steps towards improved sleep quality and overall health.
Navigating the World of Sleep Apnea Treatments
Treating obstructive sleep apnea can drastically improve sleep quality and relationship dynamics. Common solutions include:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy: This involves using a machine to keep your airway open while you sleep. However, some partners find the noise from CPAP machines disruptive, contributing to the rise of sleep divorce.
Weight Loss: Obesity is a major risk factor for OSA. Losing weight can reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.
Dietary Changes: Avoiding alcohol, sedatives, and certain foods before bedtime can help decrease episodes of sleep-disordered breathing.
Oral Appliances: These devices, worn in the mouth like orthodontic retainers or sports mouthguards, can be a quieter solution for treating sleep apnea. They adjust the position of your lower jaw and tongue to help keep your airways open while you sleep.
Ending Sleep Divorce Through Sleep Apnea Treatment
While sleep divorce may offer temporary relief from the lack of sleep caused by sleep-disordered breathing, it often doesn’t address the root cause and it could create emotional distance between partners.
Treating sleep apnea can help couples end their sleep divorce and return to sharing a bed. Treatment improves both sleep quality and relationship dynamics, making it a win-win situation for couples and everyone’s overall health. Improved sleep quality can lead to increased daytime alertness, improvements in mood, memory, and concentration, as well as enhanced relationship satisfaction.
Consult with a sleep specialist at Sleep Better Columbus to determine the most effective treatment option for your unique sleep apnea situation.
To learn more about sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, contact the professionals at Sleep Better Columbus online or at (614) 777-7350 today for a consultation and take the first steps toward better sleep.
Face mask-wearing has become the norm these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC has recommended wearing face masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus through particles released in the air. In many areas, wearing a face mask is mandatory in public.
While dentists and surgeons have been used to wearing surgical masks as part of their job for years, it’s an entirely new concept for most of the general public. Many people have had to get used to wearing masks, or in many cases, are still getting used to it.
As we wear face coverings to protect us from coronavirus, some people have begun experiencing headaches and jaw pain associated with TMJ. We’re going to take a look at these pains as well as what you can do to relieve them while still wearing your mask to prevent infection.
Headaches from Wearing Face Masks
Face mask-wearing has led many people to change the way they breathe. This may mean holding their mouths open and taking shallow breaths. Holding your mouth open when wearing a mash can cause muscle imbalances in the neck and jaw. These types of imbalances can cause headaches.
When you’re wearing a face mask all the time, you may not be drinking as much water as you used to. This can leave you dehydrated. Dehydration can lead to headaches and fatigue. One easy way to eliminate this problem is to set a timer for yourself to drink water. This will help to keep you hydrated while giving you a quick mask break throughout the day.
Jaw Pain From Wearing Face Masks
You may not even realize it, but you may be pressing your lips together or clenching your teeth under your mask. When the jaw and facial muscles are in this contracted position for a long time, they can get overworked, just like any other muscle in your body. When this happens, lactic acid builds up and irritates nerve fibers, causing pain.
Other factors that can contribute to TMJ pain while face mask-wearing come from tugging down on your ears or wearing a face mask with tight bands. When you do this, you draw your ears down and forward toward your jaw. This creates compression on the disc of your jaw.
If you are experiencing jaw pain from wearing a mask, you may want to consider the type of mask you’re wearing. There are cloth masks, surgical masks, and N95 masks. N95 masks can give a tight fit and when you combine that with a tugging on your chin, it can lead to more compression of the jaw and jaw pain. If you find this happening, you may want to try out different types of masks that will still give you protection from COVID-19, but with more comfort for your face.
What Can You Do to Relieve Pain from Face Mask-Wearing?
Since face mask-wearing is not something you can ignore, you have to find ways to decrease pain while remaining safe. Here are some ideas:
1. Be aware of your jaw when wearing a face mask
When you have your mask on, try not to make your jaw tense or push it forward to keep your mask on. The elastics are on your mask are supposed to keep your mask in place. If you find this is not happening, it may be time to look for a better fitting mask. When you wear your mask, your jaw should be relaxed when it’s resting, your teeth shouldn’t be touching, and your lips should be lightly together. Keeping these things in mind should reduce jaw pain when wearing a face mask.
2. Be aware of ear loops and look for alternatives.
Earloops can pull and tug on your ears, leading to headaches and jaw pain. When your mask’s ear loops are constantly tugging, the trigeminal nerve is triggered. This can lead to pain and tension in your jaw.
If you feel this pain, you may want to try ear savers. These fit around your head, eliminated ear loops and the pulling they cause. If you’re crafty, you can try to make one yourself. If not, there are plenty that are already made and available online.
3. Be aware of your breathing pattern.
Face mask-wearing might prompt us to breathe through our mouths instead of our noses. When we breathe through our mouth, our jaw is held open slightly, leading to tension around the jaw. Try to still breathe through your nose when you’re wearing a face covering. When you breathe through your nose, it allows the jaw to stay in a better resting position.
4. Keep your neck muscles loose.
When you wear a mask, it can change your normal head position. This can hurt your neck muscles and lead to jaw aches. If you can try to keep your neck muscles loose, you can eliminate the strain and keep TMJ symptoms at bay.
5. Ensure masks fit properly.
Your mask should fit snug across the nose and not slip up toward the eyes. This will prevent you from clenching or protruding your jaw. Ear savers can also help keep your mask in place and reduce tension on the jaw.
It’s important to find a face mask that fits properly and doesn’t cause unnecessary problems. In the end, proper face mask-wearing should not only protect you from the coronavirus but also be comfortable and not lead to TMJ pain.
Sleep apnea affects millions of people every year. Currently, around 25% of the American population is diagnosed with sleep apnea. It’s so popular that innovators have come up with a ton of ways to help. Using mouth devices for sleep apnea treatment is quickly growing in popularity. The symptoms associated with this sleep disorder cause unpleasant side-effects, and no one wants to go through life like that.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
Sleep apnea can cause a variety of “scary” side-effects and diseases, but let’s look at the big two: snoring and fatigue. Mouth appliances are effective in getting rid of these popular side-effects. When they’re FDA regulated and designed with apnea in mind, they can help you feel 100% better. Different devices work for different people. Today we’re going to be covering the 3 most popular mouth devices for sleep apnea. After reading, you will be better equipped to decide which one is right for you.
The CPAP is by far one of the most notorious when it comes to sleep apnea relief. When most people think of apnea, they connect the disorder to the CPAP machine. The CPAP operates with a simple concept in mind: to allow you to sleep better by blowing a steady stream of gentle air into your mouth and nose. The CPAP machine is pretty small and it plugs right into your wall. You use it by placing the mask over your nose and mouth and turning it on every single night before bed. When used correctly, it should prevent you from interrupted breathing.
While the CPAP machine can be effective, it’s also inconvenient for some. Here are some common complaints:
Feeling claustrophobic or confined while sleeping
Sores inside the lining of your mouth
Reports have been made about chest pain while using
It isn’t ideal for sensitive skin
Irritation for your partner or pets
It is unpleasant if you have a cold or sinusitis
Requires regular cleaning
Some people don’t experience any of this. It can be very useful. It is not, however, the least-invasive form of treatment. The following mouth devices for sleep apnea treatment are quickly growing in popularity.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD)
Sleep apnea isn’t just caused by bad health. While it is often associated with diabetes and poor diet, other factors come into play. Sometimes it’s genetics. Sometimes it has to do with the alignment of your jaw or the size of your airway. Mouthguards will prevent snoring and help to open the airway. The Mandibular Advancement device is very similar to a mouthguard. The MAD kind of looks like the mouthguards that football players wear to protect their teeth.
This particular device is pretty bulky. It is meant to snap onto the top and bottom of your teeth. It’s equipped with metal hinges that make your jaw move slightly forward while you sleep. This can open up your airway quite a bit.
Tongue Retaining Device
The tongue retaining device can be a little uncomfortable. It’s a “splint” that attaches to the tongue, forcing the airway open while you sleep. It may take a little getting used to, and it may initially cause some irritation. It is usually made from medical-grade materials, especially when purchased from a reliable source. (Remember: only buy mouth appliances that are FDA approved.)
The retaining device looks a little bit like a tiny octopus. You slip it onto your tongue and the end of it balloons out past your lips. It may look a little silly, but it does the trick. Again, not exactly a “romantic” option, but it may be more comfortable for some people than a CPAP. This device has drawbacks, as well. If not attached properly, it will slip out of the mouth. This renders it ineffective. It can also be a little hard to swallow when wearing a tongue retaining device. This can make it tricky to get a good night’s sleep. On top of that, it collects spit and needs to be cleaned daily. Storage for this device is simple. You place it into a container when you’re finished using it. You do the same thing if you’re using a mandibular advancement device.
Consistency is Key When Using Mouth Devices for Sleep Apnea
No matter what device you choose to go with, you have to be consistent. These devices work on a night-by-night basis, which means if you skip a night, you’re risking the side-effects of the disorder. Don’t stop using your device right away when you start feeling better. Continue to use it unless directed otherwise by a health care professional.
Keep in mind that all mouth appliances need to be worn properly. The CPAP, for example, will not work if it is not clipped on just right. If you ever need help with fitting your CPAP on correctly, see your dentist or doctor. The same goes for all of these appliances. If your mouth device feels uncomfortable, you may be wearing it wrong. If you aren’t getting any symptom relief, you may just need to adjust how you’re using your appliances. This is manageable.
You can buy these devices online. They’re popular. The problem with this is a lack of information and an improper fit. Getting someone to fit you for a device is the best way to stay comfortable at night. When you go to a professional for your device, you know that they’re doing what they can. They work to get rid of the symptoms of your unique sleep apnea. These devices aren’t always a “one-size-fits-all” deal. It’s important that you find something comfortable. After all, you’ll be sleeping with it every night!
Stay consistent when keeping in touch with your health care provider/dentist. Keep him/her apprised of your progress (or lack thereof). Don’t hesitate to call if your appliance isn’t working or if it’s too uncomfortable to sleep with. Your dentist or doctor will know how to help.
Sleep apnea is a common condition in the United States. It can occur when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. This is known as obstructive sleep apnea. Here are a number of treatment options to discuss with your doctor. Two of the most widely used are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and dental appliances, or mouth guards. However, as more people find they don’t respond well to CPAP therapy, they’re turning to CPAP Alternatives.
The Truth About CPAP Machines
The CPAP machine is widely prescribed in treatment of sleep apnea. However, it comes with some serious side effects. By far, an air leak is the most common complaint with CPAP use. If the mask doesn’t fit perfectly, air may escape around the edges as you change position while you are sleeping. Larger masks, such as those that cover the nose and mouth, are more prone to leaks. Leaks may compromise your therapy by reducing the pressure delivered, or they may be noisy and disturb your bed partner.
Your CPAP mask may leave marks on your skin if it doesn’t fit properly, possibly leading to sores or even ulcers, especially along the bridge of your nose. People with sensitive skin may also develop a rash or skin irritation, especially with masks that contain latex. Another common side effect is dryness of your nose or mouth often accompanies leakage. This may lead to nosebleeds or may even damage to your gums and teeth. If your mouth falls open, air can escape, leading to a parched mouth or tongue.
Though it is easy to breathe in, you may find it difficult to breathe out against the pressure when you first start using CPAP therapy. This may improve over time, but the effort may also cause insomnia. Due to the air pressure of the CPAP, you may end up with air in your stomach, causing you to belch all night long. This can lead to sleep disturbances and keeping a partner awake also.
Oral Issues from CPAP Machines
The machines can be cumbersome to take care of. CPAP machines require the use of distilled water to prevent desiccation of the oral tissues. For the wearer, the use of the distilled water can be tedious and requires special attention to cleaning and disinfecting the machine, tubing and mask. Quite often, after a while, the wearer just does not bother anymore.
A serious side effect is dental and skeletal changes associated with continuous CPAP are also known to occur. Any sustained force or pressure on teeth has the potential to cause tooth movement. As such, it is reasonable that flaring of the anterior teeth would occur because of delivering positive pressure posterior to the tongue that functions to position it forward in the oral cavity and against the anterior teeth. Any sustained force or pressure on teeth has the potential to cause tooth movement. As such, it is reasonable that flaring of the anterior teeth would occur because of delivering positive pressure posterior to the tongue that functions to position it forward in the oral cavity and against the anterior teeth. In other words, there have been reports of teeth movement due to the use of a CPAP machine. This can lead to serious biting and chewing problems.
Oral Devices as CPAP Alternatives
Oral appliances, fit by qualified dentists, are an effective treatment for many patients who can’t use or don’t want to use CPAP therapy and are seeking CPAP alternatives. They come in many different designs, but for the most part, they are usually custom made. The main purpose of the dental device is to keep the airway open during sleep, thereby preventing it from collapsing and blocking the normal flow of air during breathing.
Oral Device Types
Mandibular advancement device (MAD). The most widely used mouth device for sleep apnea, MADs closely resemble mouth guards used in sports. They snap over the upper and lower dental arches and have hinges to make it possible for the lower jaw to be gently shifted forward. Some of these devices, such as the Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP), provide the added benefit of allowing you to control the degree of advancement.
Tongue retaining device. Used less commonly than MAD, this device is a splint that holds the tongue in place to keep the airway open.
There are advantages to using an oral device. for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, particularly those who sleep on their backs or stomachs. The dental devices may improve sleep and reduce the frequency and loudness of snoring. Also, because an oral device is easy to use and maintain, people are more likely to use these popular CPAP alternatives.
If you receive a dental device, you should have a checkup early on to see if it is working. In order to get the most relief from sleep apnea, it is important to have periodic checkups for possible adjustment or replacement. If you experience pain or changes in your bite, your dentist or orthodontist may be able to make modifications to correct the problem.
Also, dental devices have also been shown to control sleep apnea long term compared to uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), the standard surgical procedure for apnea, in which the surgeon removes soft tissue from the back of the throat. If you’d like to learn more about this safe and effective treatment option, reach out today.