CPAP Therapy

The best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is the first choice treatment for all mild and moderate sleep apnea. It’s the only effective treatment for severe sleep apnea.

If you have mild or moderate sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend one of these alternate treatments instead of CPAP:

  • Making lifestyle changes: losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives
  • Oral Appliances
  • Surgery, including tonsillectomy and UPPP

With CPAP treatment, you wear a special mask attached to a CPAP machine (also called a flow generator). The CPAP machine blows a steady stream of air through the mask, into your nose and down your throat (airway). The stream of air creates pressure, which holds the tissue in your airway open. This stops your airways from collapsing. Your airway stays open all night, so you can breathe properly all night.

To get CPAP treatment, you need a prescription from your doctor. Your CPAP prescription will say which level of pressure you need. Your doctor will know the right pressure for you based on the results of your polysomnography or home monitoring test.  

There are other treatments; your doctor may prescribe these if you have mild or moderate Sleep Apnea.

If your Sleep Apnea is moderate to severe, or you’ve tried self-help strategies and lifestyle changes without success, it’s important to see a sleep doctor. A sleep specialist can evaluate your symptoms and help you find an effective treatment. Treatment for Sleep Apnea has come a long way in recent times, so take some time to explore the new options. Even if you were unhappy with your Sleep Apnea treatment in the past, we assure you, you can find something that works and feels comfortable now.

Your doctor may suggest you use a oral appliance (also called an dental appliance). The oral appliance fits over your teeth. You wear it at night. It holds your tongue and jaw towards the front of your mouth, so they don’t slip back and block your airway.

There are two types of oral appliance for Obstructive Sleep Apnea:

  • Fixed oral appliances fit over your teeth. They can’t be adjusted.
  • Adjustable oral appliances also fit over your teeth, but they can be adjusted. The dentist can adjust them forward or back, so the appliance has a fit that’s suited to your mouth size and shape. Adjustable oral appliances are better that fixed ones. To get fitted for a oral appliance, you see a dentist. There are over 80 models of oral appliance on the market. Your dentist should work with your sleep specialist doctor to choose the model that’s right for you.

Some people have jaw pain and temporary chewing problems as they get used to wearing a oral appliance. If your oral appliance isn’t comfortable, talk to your dentist. It’s important that you have an appliance that’s comfortable enough to wear every night.  Once you’ve started using a oral appliance, your doctor will send you for a follow-up sleep study (polysomnography or home monitoring). This will show whether the oral appliance gets rid of your Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptoms.  At the moment, there is no Obstructive Sleep Apnea oral appliance available for people who wear dentures.