PAP alternatives. Here’s what you’re NOT being told!
Alternatives to CPAP Devices
Some cannot tolerate CPAP no matter what the effort. If this describes you, it may be time to talk to your physician about a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) or a Tongue Stabilizing Device (TSD). These specialized devices have helped individuals who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). They are both mouthpieces that are far less cumbersome than CPAP machines.
The benefits from switching from a CPAP machine to a mouthpiece include:
- Physically, mouthpieces are handy when travelling. The CPAP machine is a big clunky machine, requiring its own power source. Mouthpieces can fit in your pocket, coat pocket or a small bag.
- Mouthpieces feel lighter.
- Less likely to tumble to the floor while you sleep.
- You have choices, it’s easy to find good information on these items.
MAD and TSD devices are presented as two types. There are custom made and available only by prescription and self-adjustable.
What’s the difference?
Custom made devices mold to your mouth while the self-fitted ones mold after a boiling and biting process. Another significant difference is the price. The cost of custom-made oral appliances can exceed $1200. The self-fitting devices can be around $100.
When considering your options, approach with these recommended questions:
The first is to ask yourself whether you wish to go with the MAD or the TSD type mouthpiece and how much time you want to invest making either one of them work.
The second is to consider how much you are willing to spend.
The third is, how will you easily adjust to either option and how much support will you receive to maximize your sleep.
Add to these questions and be sure to get solid information and advice.
Here’s a break down of some of the answers you may want to add to during your research.
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)
The self-fitting MADs are considerably less expensive than the custom made ones and quite effective when fitted correctly.
They come in various types from one-piece to hinged to cover both the top and bottom sets of teeth. Another version is designed for a bite and boil custom fit. One-size-fits-all products also remain an option. The price range for these devices is $40-$150.
When making a custom design work, the boil and bite technique involves placing the mouthpiece into a cup of near-boiling water until the mouthpiece softens. Then, after a few seconds of cooling (i.e. avoiding a burn) the device is placed into the mouth and bitten, with the lower jaw pushed forward slightly. There is a period of time to hold it in place, typically five to fifteen minutes before it “sets” properly.
When in place, these devices advance the lower jaw slightly forward in order to tighten the muscles at the back of the throat and thus open the airway.
A product that is particularly effective and comfortable is the MyTap.
The MyTap mouthpiece is a MAD oral appliance. The benefits to the device were that it was:
- Ready to use straight out of the box after a quick no boil and bite process.
- It was less clunky than a lot of the alternatives. One can close their mouth properly with it in.
Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSDs)
Another alternative is the Tongue Stabilizing Device, which operates on an entirely different principal to the MAD mouthpieces.
The device holds the tongue at the front of the mouth, assuring the tongue doesn’t fall back into the mouth. This device ensures that the tongue doesn’t block the airways.
A TSD is typically a one-size-fits-all item. Price wise, this oral appliance starts at $100, a fraction of the price of the custom fitted mouthpieces.
A favorite TSD product is the Good Morning Snore Solution (GMSS). The simplicity, level of comfort and effectiveness of it is why it is favored among other options.
The benefits to the GMSS are:
- The fact that it’s one-size-fits-all.
- It does not pull the jaw forward, improving its comfort level.
- Can be worn with or without dentures
Lastly, you have come to understand the various ways sleep apnea can be treated. For many, this information may be considered too much. However, print this post and take it to your sleep doctor and discuss these options in detail. This printed post can be an ideal point of reference so you get what you feel deserve based on what your doctor knows about your diagnosis and your health history.
Call 1.877.430.2727 for help.
Written and Edited by Bill Bistak B Sc.,SEO/SEM Spc, CRT
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