Sleep apnea, like every other health problem you can think of, doesn’t have a singular solution that works for everyone. Therefore, each individual’s sleep apnea treatment needs to be completely customized. This is a core tenant of The Columbus Sleep Center’ philosophy, in at every treatment we provide should be tailored to a patient’s specific needs. While we specialize in oral appliance therapy, sometimes this simply isn’t enough to give a person the relief they need. Fortunately, we’re actually able to make an oral appliance that works with a CPAP machine to deliver what is called combined therapy, a solution that gives a patient the best of both worlds every single restful night.
Right now, CPAP therapy is currently the most commonly prescribed and used sleep apnea treatment across the globe. The way it works is quite simple. A patient wears a face mask to bed that is connected to an air pump, and this forces oxygen into the throat in order to keep the airway open and unobstructed while a patient sleeps.
While very effective, many people find CPAP therapy to be extremely uncomfortable. The mask itself causes many patients to feel claustrophobic, and others have trouble falling asleep due to the sensation caused by the pumped air. The machine can be quite loud as well, which can be disturbing not only for a patient, but also anyone who sleeps near them. For those who travel often, taking their CPAP on the road is nearly impossible.
All of these drawbacks are why nearly 50% of the people who are supposed to use a CPAP actually don’t, meaning their sleep apnea is going completely untreated.
The other most popular sleep apnea treatment is oral appliance therapy, in which a patient wears a small, custom-designed mouthpiece that shifts the jaw into a position that helps keep the airway open throughout the night. Many patients find this approach to be much more comfortable than CPAP therapy, and this is why its patient compliance numbers are much higher.
Unfortunately, many patients have sleep apnea that is so severe that oral appliance therapy isn’t enough for them. They hate wearing their CPAP, oral appliance therapy doesn’t help, and this leaves many people feeling stuck. This is where combined therapy can save the day.
Now, we’re able to design an oral appliance that works with a CPAP machine. For combined therapy, a patient wears an oral appliance, and they also use a CPAP at the same time, though they only have to wear a small nasal mask. Because the oral appliance is doing a lot of the “heavy lifting” when it comes to keeping the airway open, the CPAP machine can be turned to a lower setting, making it much more comfortable for a patient. This, in turn, makes them more likely to use it, which will enable them to get the consistent sleep apnea treatment they need to live a healthy life.
Dr. Buck may recommend combined therapy for a patient who:
All in all, The Columbus Sleep Center is dedicated to finding the treatment that works best for YOU, whether that is oral appliance therapy or combined therapy. Working closely with your sleep doctor, we’ll go over your available options in detail so you can make the most well-informed decision possible.
For many, combined therapy is a solution they simply didn’t know was available. Our practice has already used it to help numerous patients get the comfortable and effective care that they need, and we can do the exact same for you. To learn more about combined therapy and see if it’s the best option for you, contact us today.