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Dental Appliances vs. CPAP

Oral appliances, or dental appliances, are often prescribed to treat sleep apnea.  An oral appliance is used to keep the airway open during sleep by either pushing the lower jaw forward with a MAD (mandibular advancement device) or by keeping the toungue from falling back with a toungue retaining device.  The most popular device is the MAD.

New research and technologies have been exposed in the last year that make the oral appliance a viable solution for sleep apnea.  Major manufacturers that are known in the CPAP therapy industry like Respironics and ResMed now also offer oral appliances for treatment.  An oral appliance is usually prescribed and fitted by a Dentist. 

So are oral appliances better than CPAP?  Well, that depends on the patient and the doctor.  Some sleep doctors are willing to refer patients to qualified dentists that have knowledge of sleep apnea and its treatment, but this is still a new field for dentistry.  Sleep therapy via CPAP, however, has been proven over decades and is currently used by millions of patients. 

We at are obviously a little biased when it comes to a preference for treament, but we recognize that other treatments may be suitable for some patients.  With that in mind, we would like to take a moment to introduce a local dentist in the Richmond, VA area that has oral appliances as part of her practice.

A member of American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine,  Erika Mason, D.D.S. has built a highly successful dental practice in Midlothian VA, renown for its innovative services, around the care and comfort of patients.  Going one step above and beyond, Dr Mason is also a proponent of home sleep tests that screen for sleep apnea.  Dr Mason screens her patients for sleep apnea with the Ares (Watermark Medical) ambulatory sleep study or Watch-pat. These home studies are simple and non-invasive. Dr Mason can review the results with you and explain your condition. Sometimes, a full sleep study is still needed for proper diagnosis, but home sleep studies are becoming more effective and capable.

If you are in the Richmond, VA area and need a dentist that can assess your needs for an oral appliance, go to for more information about Dr. Mason and her practice.


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Reader Comments (2)

I still believe that the best treatment for sleep apnea is the cpap machine.

January 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCpap Therapy

CPAP is not for everyone and for those who find it awkward or uncomfortable they should investigate the dental alternatives. My son uses one and has faith in it so I added cpap accessories to my medical store. I was surprised by the world wide response to those items. However, there is something to be said for a procedure that liberates from the machine. I would encourage everyone to explore their possibilities.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBill Gustafson
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