Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
CPAP Haters Finally Have A Choice.
There are a variety of treatments for sleep apnea, depending on an individual’s medical history and the severity of the disorder. Most treatment regimens begin with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and medications that relax the central nervous system (for example, sedatives and muscle relaxants), losing weight, and quitting smoking. Some people are helped by special pillows or devices that keep them from sleeping on their backs, or oral appliances to keep the airway open during sleep. If these conservative methods are inadequate, doctors often recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), in which a face mask is attached to a tube and a machine that blows pressurized air into the mask and through the airway to keep it open. The problem we see with CPAP is even though the patient is getting good results, there is a high percentage of non-compliance, due to frustration with CPAP masks and machine.
Untreated, sleep apnea can be life threatening. Excessive daytime sleepiness can cause people to fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving. Sleep apnea also appears to put individuals at risk for TIAs, also known as “mini-strokes”, and is associated with coronary heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Although there is no cure for sleep apnea, recent studies show that successful treatment can reduce the risk of heart and blood pressure problems.
Treatment most always is aimed at eliminating the cause of the blockage of breathing. Treatment choices range from simple to complex.
For those CPAP HATERS we offer amazing alternatives to treating your sleep apnea.
FDA Approved Oral Appliances
Combination Therapy (Co-Therapy)
Below is a brief discussion of treatment options including pros and cons of each treatment.
FDA Approved ORAL APPLIANCE….
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a comfortable treatment choice for many sleep disorders. It is recommended for simple snoring, mild to moderate sleep apnea, and for CPAP intolerant patients. These appliances typically work by advancing the jaw, thereby keeping the tongue from blocking the airway. They also work by tightening the throat muscles causing the throat to be more open so you can breathe better. These devices are similar to athletic mouthpieces and orthodontic retainers. Oral appliances are generally quite effective and are well tolerated by the patient. Each FDA approved appliance is custom manufactured and fit comfortably to effectively treat snoring and sleep apnea. Dr. Schlott is one of only 153 board certified dental sleep medicine dentists in the world. These appliances should be fitted and adjusted by a trained dentist; hence we do not recommend appliances sold on TV or over the Internet. Call today and have Dr. Schlott help you decide if this is the right treatment for you.
Pro: Effective for mild to moderate sleep apnea, those who are CPAP intolerant, and Easy To Use.
Dr. Schlott is very excited to now offer a combined form of Co-Therapy-Treatment. What is Co-Therapy-Treatment for Sleep Apnea? It’s the unique combination of a custom oral appliance with a CPAP machine. Why Co-Therapy ? if you are unable to tolerate a regular CPAP machine, or maybe just didn’t like CPAP, and an Oral Appliance is not quite enough, combining these 2 treatments together, removes almost all the obstacles to successfully treating your sleep apnea, and getting you the rest you need to lead a happy healty life. If you fall in the moderate to severe side of the spectrum of sleep apnea combined therapy is a great option. These combination devices are very comfortable, and custom made just for you.
Pro: Effective for moderate to severe sleep apnea, and Easy To Use
In many cases a CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine is used to treat sleep apnea. CPAP is a shoe-box-size compressor that pumps air through the nose and down the throat splinting the tongue forward to open the airway. It is considered the “gold standard” for treatment of sleep apnea, because it can be 100% effective. However, most patients find the apparatus uncomfortable to wear while sleeping. People who won’t wear CPAP are called CPAP intolerant. Nonetheless, CPAP can be the treatment of choice, especially for those diagnosed with severe sleep apnea.
Pro: a very effective treatment.
Con: uncomfortable, not “sexy”, difficult to travel with.
Many people only experience snoring and sleep apnea when they sleep on their back. While sleep on your back maybe more comfortable than sleeping on your side, sleeping on the back is more likely to laed to collapse of the airway. The fact is that sleeping on your side the airway is less apt to collapse. Using positional therapy means that you use an aid to keep you from sleeping on your back. Some people have been known to sew a tennis ball into their t-shirt to keep them on thier side. At OC Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center we offer more patient friendly devices to help you avoid back sleeping.
Surgery is available to correct snoring and sleep apnea. Many of the surgery options widen the airway by removing tissue from the back of the throat. The surgery is invasive, can be painful, and there are risks of adverse side effects. However, removal of the tonsils and adenoids is often the easiest treatment and effective treatment for children with sleep apnea. Also available is the use of radio-frequency to shrink tissue. These procedures were once common, but have fallen out of favor. Another surgical option is to advance the upper and lower jaws to open the airway. This is among the best options for treating sleep apnea; but it is also a very invasive procedure. The airway can be constrained by the upper and lower jaws. By surgically moving the upper and lower jaw forward the entire airway can be enlarged, hence treating sleep apnea. This procedure is usually performed on patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea when other treatment options have failed. Sometimes this surgery can provide cosmetic benefits as well as solving sleep issues.
Pro: Can be an excellent option for children and young adults. Jaw advancement surgery is very effective.
Con: other than jaw advancement surgery, surgeries of the throat for sleep apnea can often require re-treatment. Pain and adverse effects can be problems. UPPP and radio-frequency surgery have fallen out of favor.
Orthodontics can be another treatment option but not usually in the case of an adult. It has successfully been used in treating some children with sleep apnea. In addition to straightening teeth, orthodontics can be used to “widen” the jaws opening the airway.
Pro: best used in children when indicated.
Con: May not correct the sleep apnea or snoring
Sleep Apnea is not always associated with a persons weight, however many patients suffering with sleep apnea are overweight. Losing extra pounds can help with snoring and sleep apnea, but not always. . Besides helping eliminate some sleep issues, weight loss has many other beneficial health effects. Weight loss is always encouraged!
Pro: very beneficial.
Alcohol and drugs can exaggerate sleep problems. Their use should be moderated or eliminated. Sleep aids seen on TV and on the Internet have been shown by research to be mostly ineffective and are not encouraged. However, Orange County Snoring and Sleep Center promotes good sleep habits such as sleeping in a dark, quiet room, with a comfortable bed. We also endorse a regular sleep schedule with adequate hours of sleep.
For more detailed information about treatment options see: medicinenet.com
OC Snoring & Sleep Apnea Center
Relief from Snoring & Sleep Apnea.
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Why Choose Us
- Dr. Nebeker is Board Certified in Dental Sleep Medicine
- We Place Patients First
- We Are On Time for Appointments
- In House Medical Billing
- Very Caring Compassionate Staff
- Dr. Nebeker is a Diplomat of The American Academy Of Dental Sleep Medicine
- Dr. Nebeker Has Authored & Published Scientific Articles on Sleep Apnea
- Dr. Nebeker is a Sought After Speaker In The Medical & Dental Fields
- Sole Provider for Some HMO Groups