The logical next step following your diagnosis of sleep apnea is to explore your treatment options. There are two main sleep apnea treatment options that both have a variety of sub-options, depending upon the specific type of sleep apnea that you are diagnosed with and your current severity level. Remember that sleep apnea is a progressive health condition if left without treatment. You must seek the proper treatment following your diagnosis. The sooner you find a method that works for your specific health needs and comfort level, the sooner you will find yourself sleeping well and waking up more rested.
If you are suffering from severe sleep apnea, you will likely be advised to use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device as your first line of treatment. This is a fitted mask that is hooked up to a machine that supplies a constant flow of pressurized air. This pressurized air helps keep the airways from collapsing during sleep. Positive airway pressure devices are a widely used method of treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. There are a variety of models that either provide a continuous flow of pressurized air or that offer adjustable pressure levels.
The second type of treatment and one that is growing in popularity is an oral appliance. “Oral appliances are similar to orthodontic retainers and mouth guards, but they are specifically designed to prevent the collapse of the airway during sleep by repositioning and stabilizing the mandible (lower jaw), the jaw muscles, the tongue, soft palate, and/or uvula. The primary type of appliance used is a MAD or Mandibular Advancement Device that brings the lower jaw forward using the upper jaw as an anchor. This also brings the tongue forward and tightens the pharyngeal walls and soft palate. The tongue-retaining device uses suction to bring the tongue and jaw forward” (Shapira, 2007).
Oral appliances are best suited for those who suffer from mild to moderate OSA or who are not comfortable using a CPAP device.
Dr. Steve can custom design and fit the perfect oral appliance for you. He has the advanced skills and expertise to create and monitor your specific treatment plan using an oral appliance. Don’t suffer through any more drowsy days! Talk to Dr. Steve or Dr. Blake today about how Parker Dentistry can help you combat this common sleep and health disorder.
Shapira, D. B. (2007). Oral Appliances vs. CPAP, Shapira - Sleep and Health Journal. Retrieved November 03, 2016, from http://www.sleepandhealth.com/oral-appliances-vrs-cpap-shapira/