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Oral Appliances and CPAP Compared, Dentist Dr. Erika Mason, Richmond, Virginia


Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines are one way to treat sleep apnea. Dental appliances are also a treatment option. Dr. Erika Mason of Sleep Better Virginia discusses how the two approaches compare.


Dr. Mason says that some patients can avoid the CPAP machine and rely strictly on a custom-made dental appliance. CPAP machines are “the gold standard” of sleep apnea treatment. However, papers reporting on the compliance rate of patients using CPAP compared to patients using dental appliances show that the dental appliances have advantages. Patients are more likely to leave an appliance in the mouth all night. With a CPAP machine, a patient may remove the mask at night and get as little as three hours of sleep apnea relief from the machine.

Dr. Mason explains that there is an approach called co-therapy that she sometimes uses in conjunction with a physician treating a patient for sleep apnea and where the dental appliance by itself doesn’t entirely solve the problem. Co-therapy provides a way to lower the pressure of the CPAP machine, and pressure is usually the number one patient complaint about these machines. The combination of the CPAP machine and the oral appliance often produces a great result.

Dr. Mason points out that the Apnea-Hypopnea Index quantifies degrees of sleep apnea, from mild, to moderate, to severe. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has guidelines saying that physicians should give their patients treatment choices. And, says Dr. Mason, mild and moderate levels of sleep apnea are treated very successfully with oral appiances.

For over 25 years, Erika Mason, D.D.S. of Sleep Better Virginia has built a highly successful dental practice, renowned for its innovative services, focused on the care and comfort of patients. Along with general dentistry, she offers a wide variety of progressive dental techniques; including treatment of sleep apnea and treatment of migraine headaches all with the aid of the most advanced technology in order to help her patients feel better, sleep better, and look better. She spoke with Sleep Better TV, providing online sleep breathing disorder video news content. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.

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