Sleep Apnea Treatment

The treatments for sleep apnea vary greatly and depend on your individual evaluation and diagnosis. Your dentist may recommend some lifestyle changes or suggest you change your diet or lose weight. Snoring and sleep apnea are much more common in those who are overweight than those who are not. If your sleep apnea is not related to your weight or lifestyle, your dentist may recommend that you wear an oral appliance. In the more serious cases, surgery may be required to prevent upper airway obstruction.

To determine which treatment is best for you, we will examine your habits, evaluate you and make recommendations such as avoiding alcohol or sleeping in a new position. We may suggest different positioning of your pillows to alter your nighttime breathing habits. Or, we may suggest fitting you with an oral appliance. If your sleep apnea problem is quite serious we may discuss a combination of therapies to achieve success.

SLEEP APNEA IS A LIFE THREATENING CONDITION AND SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE FUTURE QUALITY AND LONGEVITY OF YOUR LIFE!

The following is a list of treatments available to treat sleep apnea:

  • Oral appliance therapy. There are numerous oral appliances from which your dentist can choose to best treat your sleep apnea. These appliances are custom-fitted to help you sleep soundly and minimize the effects of sleep apnea, such as snoring. These devices are approved by the FDA to prevent airway obstruction and are worn in the mouth during sleep. The oral appliances may reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and hyoid bone into a certain position to keep the airway open. A mold will be taken of your mouth to custom fit the oral appliance to the shape of your mouth.
  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) CPAP has usually been the first choice with sleep centers to treat sleep apnea, but it does have a serious drawback-many patients find it cumbersome or very uncomfortable! With this treatment, the patient must wear a specially designed mask that uses pressure to send air flowing through your nasal passages. The steady flow of air keeps the throat from collapsing during sleep and allows you to breathe freely. CPAP can also eliminate snoring so both you and your partner get a good night's rest. While CPAP is highly effective, it is not very popular at all. Imagine sleeping every night with a mask on your face. CPAP is very difficult to comply with because of the annoyance of sleeping with a mask over your mouth and nose. Though it is considered the gold standard of treatment studies show only b23-45% of patients use it routinely. Many of the patients who use CPAP wear it only 4-6 hours and 7.5 hours are required for complete therapeutic effect.
  • Surgery. Sleep apnea surgery increases the size of the your airway making it easier for you to breathe during sleep. There are many surgeries for treating sleep apnea including: tracheotomy, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), laser-assisted UP (LAUP), somnoplasty, tongue reduction therapy, tonsillectomy/adenoidectomy, bimaxillary advancement, and genioglossus and hyoid advancement. Proceed with caution with all surgeries as they have been shown to be only marginally successful with exception of tracheostomy and bimaxillary advancement. Surgeries to open nasal breathing are almost always helpful.
  • Behavioral Therapy. Making simple changes in your lifestyle may be all you need to correct your sleep apnea problem. Patients with only a mild case of sleep apnea may change their diet, avoid alcohol, stop smoking, change position of pillows, sleep on your side, eat a well-balanced diet, reduce allergens in your home, sleep with windows closed, use a humidifier in your bedroom.
  • Anti-Snoring Pills. There is medication that may be prescribed by your dentist to help reduce the effects of sleep apnea. Medication is seldom used as a treatment by itself, but it can be an effective supplement to other treatment options. Anti-snoring pills contain natural plant enzymes and herbs to reduce congestion and swelling in the nasal passages and throat. There are also nasal sprays or nose drops that your dentist may prescribe that will minimize snoring and sleep apnea.
  • Anti-Aging Medicine. Hormonal imbalances are often the result of sleep apnea. Growth hormones are secreted during sleep, so sleep disruption can lead to hormone imbalances and deficiencies. Your dentist may recommend some type of hormone therapy to ease your snoring and sleep apnea.

With all of these sleep apnea treatments available, there is no reason for you to continue to suffer and lose minutes or hours of precious sleep time every night.

Please call or email Dr. Joseph Barton today to schedule an initial consultation. We'll help you get a good night's sleep.

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