a man sleeping with cpap machine

CPAP vs Mouthpiece: Which One Should I Use?

If you are suffering from chronic snoring or loud snoring, under proper diagnosis from a sleep specialist you may be suffering from a form of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that restricts or diminishes your breathing temporarily for 30-60 seconds while sleeping.

This abnormal breathing during sleep can cause adverse health problems as it decreases the supply of oxygen to your organs.

According to a report, it is estimated that 22 million Americans, both men, and women suffer from sleep apnea.

It has even affected infants and children but is most common amongst men over 40.

While most of these cases are undiagnosed due to lack of information or considered as just a snoring problem. Untreated sleep apnea can make you feel groggy or hazed during the day.

Sleep apnea sufferers are not aware of their condition unless their sleeping partner or a roommate notices certain symptoms.

Whether you are struggling with OSA or CSA, there are different symptoms, causes, and treatments for sleep apnea patients.

Upon careful investigation into your sleep disorder, a sleep specialist will recommend treatment according to your sleep apnea symptoms.

man sleeping with mouth open

What is Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance Therapy?

Sleep apnea oral appliance is very similar to an anti snoring mouthpiece or an anti snoring mouth guard that is custom-fitted into your mouth while you sleep at night.

A mandibular advancement device (MAD) is considered an excellent alternative dental device for treating sleep apnea patients.

MAD devices ensure that the partial obstruction in your upper airway is kept open by pushing your lower jaw forward in a comfortable position.

This jaw advancement prevents your throat muscles from collapsing into your airway and allowing you to breathe smoothly and freely while sleeping.

If you are interested in a mouth guard for your sleep apnea treatment, our article on anti snoring devices will help find a suitable mouthpiece for you

four different kinds of mouth pieces

Pros and Cons of Using Sleep Apnea Oral Device


  • Easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Comfort fit
  • Adjustable MAD devices
  • FDA approved device (Most MADs)
  • Travel friendly
  • Does not require electricity


  • Jaw pain or discomfort
  • Tooth pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Cannot be worn with dentures, crowns, or other dental work
  • Excessive drooling
  • May requires a tongue stabilizing device
  • It may not be as effective as a CPAP

What is a CPAP Machine?

A CPAP machine is a highly effective obstructive sleep apnea treatment that ensures that you breathe efficiently and smoothly while you are sleeping.

The most common treatment for severe sleep apnea patients is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

A CPAP device supplies pressurized air through the mask that is connected to a CPAP machine which prevents your airway from collapsing.

This constant air pressure helps sleep apnea patients sleep better without any complications such as disrupted sleep or shortness of breath at night.

The CPAP mask provides air to your lungs throughout the night but some patients can have some discomfort due to the continuous pressure in their airway.

A CPAP is a dental appliance that is custom-made by your dentist to fit perfectly while you sleep.

If you are struggling with severe OSA, CPAP is the best option for you as it not only treats your sleep apnea problems but also prevents snoring.

a man sleeping with cpap machine

Pros and Cons of Using a CPAP Machine 


  • Highly effective
  • New designs available for comfort
  • Can be used with sleep apnea mouthguards


  • Discomfort for many individuals
  • Nasal congestion
  • Patient may feel claustrophobic
  • Nose bleeds
  • Dry mouth
  • Requires electricity
  • Chest discomfort
  • Noisy
  • Not travel friendly

Difference between CPAP vs Mouthpiece

A Dentist from NC, Dr. Terrance Smith explains the differences between CPAP and an oral appliance to treat OSA symptoms.

Link: https://youtu.be/BzJ1Xngojtk

Which Treatment Should I Use for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Using an oral dental device to treat a life-threatening sleep disorder may seem unnatural but it has proven to be quite effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea sufferers.

Apart from the comfort and sleek designs, it has improved quality and reduced snoring in patients. Whereas, CPAP machines may seem inconvenient but a necessary treatment in severe sleep apnea cases.

Medical studies have shown that both CPAP and sleep apnea mouthguard or mouthpiece have been effective in reducing sleep apnea symptoms and improving sleep quality.

When it comes to choosing between the two devices it is advised that you consult with your dentist or sleep specialist before making any decisions.

A great benefit in using these devices is that you can try out these devices individually or together to achieve the best results.

The three things you must consider when deciding on oral appliance therapy or CPAP therapy are comfort, convenience, and compliance.

However, if you are not comfortable with CPAP or you've had an unsuccessful experience with your CPAP machine. You can consider using a sleep apnea mouthpiece for a more effective result.

Keep in mind that you refer to your sleep specialist for any changes in your sleeping routines. There could be other factors that can interfere with your treatment or the other as a better choice for you.

Treatment Should I Use for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better: CPAP or oral appliance?

It all comes down to your choice and comfort. A CPAP mask may be uncomfortable for many sleep apnea patients whereas an oral device such as a sleep apnea mouth guard is much easier to use and provides a perfect fit.

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