Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is often regarded as the most common of all moderate to severe sleep disorders. Although there are two types of sleep apnea, there is one type that is most prevalent – obstructive sleep apnea or OSA for short. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when there is a short interruption in the patient’s regular pattern of breathing whilst they are asleep. This happens as a result of a physical blockage in the airway, caused by the soft tissues of the throat and neck collapsing. When an episode of obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the patient will appear to be temporarily holding their breath. Their body quickly recognizes the lack of oxygen being passed through it and prompts the muscles of the respiratory system to take an extra-large breath to start the breathing process once more. This may sound like a snort, snore or gasp.

It is possible for patients to experience anywhere from a couple of episodes in one night of sleep, to more than a hundred. As you might expect, this will have a significant effect on your ability to get good quality sleep, and it may even affect your partner’s sleep too. It can also affect your mood and health. People who have OSA are more likely to develop high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, adult asthma, and acid reflux. They are also more likely to gain weight and have an increased risk of being involved in a car accident.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If you sleep alone, it isn’t always easy to recognize that you are suffering from a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. However, if you are experiencing any of the following, it could be that you have OSA. They include:

  • Feeling very tired during the day

  • Finding it hard to concentrate/experiencing brain fog

  • Suffering mood swings

  • Morning headaches

  • Persistent snoring

If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, you should arrange to speak to your dentist to be assessed and find out about the treatments that are available.

Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Fortunately, there are several options when it comes to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating better and avoiding relaxants such as alcohol before sleep can play a very successful role in reducing and eliminating sleep apnea. It is normally advised that patients try these before considering alternative treatments.

CPAP machines are a very effective treatment for sleep apnea. They work by delivering continuous positive airway pressure which pushes past the obstruction and enables you to breathe easily. However, patients must wear a mask over their face whilst they sleep, and this can be uncomfortable for some.

Mandibular devices are also popular. These work by improving the position of the jaw and retaining the tongue so that the airway cannot become blocked.

The devices that we provide are supplied through Vivos. These safe, effective and non-invasive oral appliances are designed specifically for the treatment of maxillary hypoplasia and mandibular retrognathia – two of the most significant underlying conditions causing sleep apnea.

If you would like more information about sleep apnea and the treatments available, our team is on hand to help. Please contact Pecan Park Dental in Arlington, TX for more information.