Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment
If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor probably prescribed a CPAP machine. CPAP is short for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure.” CPAPs are often the first sleep apnea treatment that is considered, but there is an alternative therapy available.
What is obstructive sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder. Patients that have it go untreated stop breathing throughout the night, sometimes dozens or even hundreds of times. Common symptoms of this disorder include:
- Loud snoring
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Not feeling refreshed in the morning
- Memory loss
In addition, the patient’s bed partner may notice pauses in breathing and choking or gasping sounds.
What Are The Causes?
Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway. Usually, the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
In addition to obstructive, there are two other types of sleep apneas: central and mixed. Central sleep apnea is caused by either the respiratory muscles failing to act or the brain failing to “tell” the respiratory muscles to act. And mixed sleep apnea occurs when a patient has both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
CPAP machines are an effective treatment, but they are not for everybody. Some people cannot get used to wearing a mask at night. Others may find that a CPAP machine does not fit into their lifestyle. Maybe they travel a lot and the machine is cumbersome to take everywhere.
There other sleep apnea treatment options out there, one of which is an oral appliance that can be prescribed by your dentist.
Oral Appliance Therapy: Another Option for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Oral appliances for sleep apnea resemble the mouthguards that football players and other athletes wear. These custom-fit appliances are worn only while you sleep. They work by forcing your jaw forward, which keeps your airway open. Many of our patients love the freedom and comfort of this type of therapy.
If a CPAP machine isn’t working for you, contact us at (276) 466-9800. We can refer you to a specialist for more information.