Sleep Apnea is Something We Have the Capability of Treating
Posted on 11/16/2020 by Dr. David Welton
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans. With sleep apnea, your breathing slows down significantly or even stops for up to a minute at a time while you are asleep. It can be caused by your throat muscles relaxing and obstructing your airway (a form of the disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA), or by your brain not sending the proper signals to the muscles involved in respiration (central sleep apnea or CSA). There are a variety of different treatment options available for sleep apnea, including some that can be done right here in our office.
Oral appliance therapy is typically the first treatment we recommend for patients with mild to moderate OSA. Oral appliances can also be used for people who suffer from severe OSA and cannot tolerate a CPAP machine. An oral appliance used for sleep apnea is similar to a mouthguard that we would recommend for athletic use or to treat teeth grinding, and we will custom-make it to fit your mouth. Oral appliances work by holding your jaw forward so that your airway stays open. Oral appliance therapy is convenient, non-invasive, comfortable, and highly effective at treating OSA.
Continuous positive airway pressure devices, or CPAP machines, are commonly used to treat moderate to severe OSA. The machine is attached to a mask that continuously supplies pressurized air into your throat, preventing your airway from collapsing or becoming obstructed. The success of a CPAP device for treating sleep apnea depends on how consistently you use it, but some patients find them uncomfortable, loud, or difficult to use.
There are several risk factors for sleep apnea, and if you have a mild case, we might suggest certain lifestyle changes to treat your sleep apnea. Obesity, smoking, and drinking alcohol are all linked to sleep apnea, so if any of these apply to you, we would recommend losing weight, quitting smoking, and decreasing your consumption of alcohol or other sedatives. Other remedies for sleep apnea include nasal decongestants, neuro-stimulation therapy, or surgery for cases in which other treatment options have not been successful. If you suffer from any form of sleep apnea, contact our office to discuss your treatment options.
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