CPAP or Dental Appliance. What’s the Difference? – The John Fornetti Dental Center

CPAP or Dental Appliance. What’s the Difference?

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What is the difference between CPAP treatment and other options when treating sleep apnea?

Are you struggling to tolerate your CPAP? Do you ever wonder if there is something different out there to help with your sleep apnea? There are many devices that can be used to treat sleep apnea, but we'll be discussing the difference between dental appliances and CPAP machines.


CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. According to, CPAP is a "popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It uses air pressure generated by a machine, delivered through a tube into a mask that fits over the nose or mouth." CPAP machines can also have nose and mouth masks as well as full face masks.

A CPAP machine treats OSA by delivering a stream of pressurized air. This pressurized air acts as a "splint" to help prevent collapses of the muscles and tissues in the back of the throat that cause sleep apnea. "By helping to keep the airway firm and open, the pressurized air provides the support necessary for the user to breathe freely and without obstructions," according to

Dental Oral Appliances

The dental appliances we offer are considered Mandibular Advancement Devices or MADs. MADs used to treat OSA look similar to mouth guards or retainers. They fit into the mouth by snapping over the upper and lower teeth and have metal hinges connecting the two pieces. These devices work by pushing the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward. This helps prevent throat muscles and tissues from collapsing back into the airways allowing for normal, uninterrupted breathing during sleep.

There are over-the-counter appliances on the market, but they are not recommended. They may be more attractive because of a lower price point, but these devices can actually complicate sleep apnea according to Over-the-counter devices may eliminate snoring. However, they do not help prevent the underlying apnea which can lead to further complications down the road. If you or your partner snores, this could be an early warning sign of sleep apnea. It is best to consult a doctor before trying any remedies to just treat snoring. You can call our office today at 906-774-0100 to schedule a free consultation! Also check out another post of ours that list the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea here.