There are a variety of methods used today to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
- Life Style Changes – Studies have shown that some life style changes can help reduce or eliminate sleep apnea symptoms. Weight loss and quitting smoking are two of the more effective changes a person can make. The benefits of weight loss and smoking cessation not only impact sleep apnea in many cases, overall health and wellness improves. However in some cases individuals will still experience sleep apnea episodes after life style changes and other methods of treatment may be necessary.
- CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Therapy- One of the most common treatments offered by the health care industry is CPAP Therapy. This therapy utilizes a small machine that supplies a constant steady air pressure through a hose and mask or nose piece. The air pressure through the mask keeps the airway open reducing apnea episodes. Some find the CPAP Machine difficult to adapt to. They can be noisy and uncomfortable. Common problems with CPAP include a leaky mask, trouble falling asleep, and a dry nose or mouth. Many have reported the machines to be disruptive for their spouses or significant others sleep.
- Oral Surgery – Using oral surgery to help sleep apnea seeks to remove the excess tissue in the throat that is vibrating and blocking the upper air passages. One surgical procedure is an Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This procedure involves removing the excess tissue from the upper mouth and throat. This procedure in performed in a hospital under general anesthesia. Maxillomandibular advancement is another type of procedure used to assist with sleep apnea. This procedure involves the upper and lower part of the jaw. In this procedure, the jaw is moved forward from the rest of the facial bones. This allows more room behind the soft palate, thereby reducing the obstruction. Finally a Tracheostomy is a last ditch effort when other treatments have failed. This involves the surgeon inserting a tube in your throat so you can breathe. It is covered during the day, but opens at night while you sleep. All of the aforementioned surgeries are routine and very safe.
- Oral Appliance Therapy – Oral appliance therapy involves the selection, fitting and use of a specially designed oral appliance that maintains an open, unobstructed airway in the throat when worn during sleep. Custom-made oral appliances are proven to be more effective than over-the-counter devices, which are not recommended as a screening tool nor as a therapeutic option. There are two main categories of oral appliances.
Tongue Retaining Appliances
Tongue retaining appliances hold the tongue in a forward position using a suction bulb. When the tongue is in a forward position, it serves to keep the back of the tongue from collapsing during sleep and obstructing the airway in the throat.
Mandibular Repositioning Appliances
Mandibular repositioning appliances reposition and maintain the lower jaw in a protruded position during sleep. The device serves to open the airway by indirectly pulling the tongue forward, stimulating activity of the muscles in the tongue and making it more rigid. The device also holds the lower jaw and other structures in a stable position to prevent the mouth from opening.
An oral appliance is a great alternative to CPAP and Surgery. Many find oral appliances more affordable, less invasive than surgery and extremely effective. Oral Appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. They are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling. Treatments with oral appliances are reversible and non-invasive. Many medical insurance policies cover part or all of the cost of an oral appliance. Call today to schedule your consultation.