You're Not Alone
When a patient cannot tolerate CPAP, they neglect to use it. This non-compliance is referred to as CPAP intolerance or CPAP failure. CPAP failure is often caused by issues outside of your control:
- Seasonal allergies or ongoing congestion
- Nasal, sinus or upper palate issues (such as a deviated septum)
- Skin irritation on face
- Nasal irritation, dryness or bleeding
- Claustrophobia or sensation of suffocation
- Respiratory infections
- Abdominal bloating & gas
- Machine disturbs sleep (or partner’s sleep)
These and other issues make CPAP failure common for many obstructive sleep apnea sufferers.
CPAP versus Oral Appliance Therapy
Mechanism of Action:
- CPAP: CPAP involves the use of a machine that delivers a continuous stream of pressurized air through a mask, which keeps the airway open during sleep. It prevents the collapse of the upper airway, a common problem in OSA.
- OAT: OAT uses a custom-fitted oral appliance, similar to a dental retainer or mouthguard, to reposition the lower jaw and tongue to keep the airway open. It works by advancing the lower jaw and stabilizing the tongue to reduce airway
Comfort and Tolerance:
- CPAP: Some people find it uncomfortable to wear a CPAP mask and may experience skin irritation or pressure sores. It can take time to get used to the sensation of forced air.
- OAT: Many individuals find OAT more comfortable and easier to adapt to since it doesn’t involve wearing a mask or relying on a machine. However, some may experience jaw discomfort or changes in bite alignment.
- CPAP: CPAP machines are less portable, especially when traveling, due to their size and need for electrical power
- OAT: Oral appliances are compact and portable, making them a convenient option for frequent travelers.
- CPAP: Compliance with CPAP therapy can be challenging for some individuals due to discomfort, mask leaks, or claustrophobia. However, newer CPAP models are designed to be more user-friendly
- OAT: Compliance tends to be higher with OAT since it is more comfortable for