Treatment Options for Sleep ApneaThe dangers of sleep apnea have been well documented and include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and depression. During obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, the airway becomes obstructed while you sleep, and your brain must wake up briefly to reopen the airway so that you can breathe again and get the oxygen your body needs. Treatment can help normalize your breathing and your sleeping patterns. Several treatments are available, including oral appliance therapy, CPAP machines, surgery, and more. Dr. Radfar can help you decide on the best therapy for your needs.
Sleep Apnea and Oral Appliances
Oral appliance therapy involves the use of an oral appliance. This can be a great first-line treatment for patients with mild-to-moderate OSA, or those with severe OSA who cannot tolerate CPAP machines. Oral appliances can also be used in conjunction with other therapies. Although there can be an adjustment period, most patients adapt quickly and find oral appliances easy to use and carry with them.
These appliances are custom fit and look similar to a mouth guard or orthodontic appliance. If you choose a mouth guard, you will wear the appliance while you sleep, and it will prevent the soft tissues in the back of the throat and your tongue from collapsing over your airway while you sleep. This ensures that your airway stays open and that your body gets the oxygen it needs.
CPAP for Sleep Apnea
Continuous positive air pressure, or CPAP, therapy is perhaps the best-known treatment for sleep apnea and a first-line treatment for severe OSA. Those with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea can also choose CPAP therapy if they prefer. CPAP therapy combines a facial or nasal mask that is attached to a special pump with tubing. The pump pushes air into the mask, and this consistent air pressure keeps the airway open while you sleep.
CPAP therapy is considered highly effective, but it does have some drawbacks. Patients often have an adjustment period, and the machine can be difficult to carry when traveling.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
Surgery is not a first-line treatment for those with mild-to-moderate or severe sleep apnea, but it can be an effective solution for patients who cannot tolerate other types of sleep apnea treatment, or for those who do not get relief from more conservative treatment methods. Several surgical treatment methods are available, but each patient’s needs should be carefully considered to determine the most appropriate approach.
More Treatment Options
Dr. Radfar might also recommend lifestyle adjustments to address factors that could be contributing to your sleep apnea. This could include losing weight, quitting smoking, or reducing alcohol intake. Other factors that can affect sleep apnea include medication, sedatives, and sleep position. Although lifestyle changes can be quite effective, they are generally used in conjunction with other treatments, which offer more immediate results.
Contact us today to find out more about sleep apnea solutions or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Radfar, our sleep apnea dentist.