Primary Central Sleep Apnea and Oral Dental Appliances

by Central Apneic

I was diagnosed with Central Sleep Apnea and have tried CPAP, which was not helpful. My question: Are oral dental appliances effective for central sleep apnea?


The oral dental appliances reduce the obstruction from the patient airways. So, the dental device can help only if you have obstructive sleep apnea.

With central sleep apnea, however, you have a diminished or absent respiratory effort due to problems from the brain, or diseases of the central nervous system. Is just like you forget to take a breath, and you'll remember to breathe when the blood oxygen levels drops bellow 90%.

Causes of sleep apnea

Here are some possible causes of central apnea:

  • Poliomyelitis,

  • Encephalitis,

  • meurodegnerative diseases,

  • complications of surgery to the cervical spine,

  • Radiation treatments on or near cervical spine,

  • Stroke.

In central sleep apnea there is a suspension of respiratory muscle activity together with a suspension of airflow. In obstructive sleep apnea you have muscle activity (you try to breathe, but the air is blocked to enter into your lungs).

How to treat central sleep apnea?

  • Diagnosis and treatment of underlying cause - Possible causes of central sleep apnea include heart or neuromuscular disorders, and treating those conditions may help your sleep apnea.

    For example, appropriate therapy for heart failure may eliminate central sleep apnea.

  • Treatment with the medication, particularly theophylline and acetozolamide, to stimulate the need to breathe.

    • Acetozolamide causes metabolic acidosis that stimulates the respiratory system.

    • Theophylline, which is mainly used to treat asthmatics, operates through an unknown mechanism, but it is assumed that it activates the respiratory center by increasing the metabolic rate or intensifying the action of the respiratory muscles.

    Note: Be careful with these drugs, they can exacerbate the condition of patients with obstructive problems.

  • In some cases, CPAP may be of value.

  • Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) - this treatment boosts the weak breathing pattern of central sleep apnea. The BiPAP builds to a higher pressure when you inhale and decreases to a lower pressure when you exhale.

  • Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) - is a much clever device that monitors your normal breathing pattern and stores the information in a built-in computer. After you fall asleep, the ASV uses pressure to regulate your breathing pattern and prevent pauses in your breathing.

  • Supplemental oxygen - Using supplemental oxygen while you sleep may help if you have central sleep apnea. This treatment isn't recommended for those with heart failure.

I hope it helps. Don't be afraid to comment back.

Remy Thierry
Founder of Sleep Apnea Guide

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