If you’re one of the 18 million Americans with sleep apnea, your doctor has most likely recommended that you use a CPAP machine. “CPAP” stands for “continuous positive airway pressure” since these devices transmit a steady stream of pressurized oxygen through a mask to your airways, helping them remain open so that you do not suffer from an apnea. CPAP treatment is often prescribed because it can be very effective, helping you breathe properly during sleep and alleviating uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches or irritability. But what if you could travel without a complicated, heavy CPAP machine and still derive the same benefits? Dr. Stephen J. Gershberg can manufacture a small, lightweight oral appliance that you can easily slip into your carry-on and wear at night to keep your airways open for healthy, restful sleep. Read on to learn more about why lugging your CPAP apparatus might not be ideal and discover the many benefits of an oral appliance.
The Hassles of Traveling with CPAP
A CPAP system consists of a mechanical box, facemask, and tube connecting the two, as well as any accessories such as cushions or straps to make using it more comfortable. This added piece of luggage can create a variety of hassles throughout your trip. These often include:
- A complicated TSA process at the airport. As agent Bob explains in the federal TSA blog, it’s inadvisable to pack your CPAP machine into your checked luggage, just in case it gets lost. This means you’ll bring it with you onto your flight (although according to the Americans with Disabilities Act, it won’t count as one of your two personal items), and therefore, you’ll have to cart it with you through the security check. Bob describes the process: “The CPAP machine will need to come out of its case and be placed in a bin prior to being sent through the X-ray, but the facemask and tubing can remain in the case. We realize the X-ray bins aren’t exactly sterile, so if you like, you can place your CPAP machine in a clear plastic bag before you put it in the bin. After your CPAP machine is X-rayed, it may need to undergo an Explosive Trace Detection test where a small white swab will be run over your machine and then analyzed for trace amounts of explosives.” If you happen to be running late for a flight, this procedure could add precious minutes to your check-in time, in addition to being a major inconvenience.
- Power problems. You’ll need to make sure your airplane seat or hotel room has the right kinds of outlets in the proper locations so you can run your machine at night. This could be especially problematic for outdoor expeditions or international travels, for which you might need to purchase a battery pack.
- Mechanical failures. As a complex piece of machinery, it’s always possible that your CPAP machine will malfunction. Most doctors recommend that traveling CPAP patients bring their prescriptions with them just in case their machines need repairs.
- If you’re going on a business trip, a romantic vacation with a new partner, or a fun vacation with friends, you might feel self-conscious about having to make special accommodations for your CPAP machine.
Our Travel-Friendly Solution
If you’re sick of journeying with your CPAP machine, Dr. Gershberg can provide a more discreet, lightweight, and convenient solution. To treat oral sleep apnea, he can custom make an oral appliance fitted to your unique mouth. These devices fit between your teeth to hold your mouth and jaw in a healthier position so that air can reach your lungs. We offer oral appliances from Respire, SomnoMed, Moses, and more. To travel with your device, you can simply slip it into a small case, pack it in your carry-on bag, and put it on before you sleep. You won’t have to spend extra time in the TSA line, drag an extra bag through the airport, or worry about finding the right size of outlet.
About Your Sleep Apnea Dentist in Ardmore
Dr. Gershberg brings three decades of dental experience and expertise to his Bryn Mawr practice. If you’ve been struggling with sleep apnea or are unhappy with your CPAP treatment, he can enhance your wellbeing and quality of life with an oral appliance. To learn more about our sleep apnea services, please call Main Line Snoring Solutions at 610-527 6700 for more information and to schedule a consultation.