The Benefits and Treatment

Oral Appliances

Sleep apnea can be a difficult condition to live with for many different reasons. The symptoms associated with this condition can be quite troubling for the patient suffering from sleep apnea as well as for family members, partners and friends. Some of these symptoms include a stoppage of breath while sleeping, gasping or choking in the middle of the night, loud snoring and other breathing problems that lead to un-restful sleep, fatigue and morning headaches. In order to get the rest you need and breathe properly through the night, there are a variety of oral appliances available out there that are designed to specifically help patients living with sleep apnea.

The main oral appliance that is often prescribed in order to facilitate healthy breathing during sleep is a CPAP machine, but not every patient adjusts well to the device for any number of reasons, which is why oral appliances are also available. Oral appliance therapy or OAT helps prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat by supporting the jaw in a forward position, keeping the airway open during sleep so that you can breathe properly all night long. Like any other treatment method oral appliance therapy works for some patients but may not be suitable for others. For instance, OAT is not recommended for people with central sleep apnea, who are morbidly obese, for people with poor detention, or for patients suffering from acute TMD or temporomandibular disorders.

Night Shift is another available option, and is a device that is worn around the neck at night while sleeping. This device aims to gently nudge the patient into a more favorable sleeping position that will be more conducive to better breathing if the device detects that they have moved onto their back or other position unhealthy for breathing. This option is not appropriate for patients with acute neck, shoulder or back pain, for those with cardiac arrhythmia assisted by an artificial pacemaker, or for patients who have a skin sensitivity or open wound.

CPAP Intolerance

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, that means that you have trouble sleeping restfully and healthily due to a blockage of your breathing during sleep. In order to treat this particular condition, the main goal is to find a way to prevent the blockage of your airways in order to allow you to breathe properly. One of the main tools used when it comes to making this happen is a CPAP machine which is an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. This devices involves a mask that is to be worn at night while you sleep. The mask then provides lightly pressurized air through an attached hose. This flow of pressurized air acts a bit like a splint in that it is meant to keep your upper airway open in order to facilitate proper breathing.

But this method does not work for every patient. While it is often considered a go-to solution for sleep apnea, there are a number of issues that patients regularly complain about and may not actually use their CPAP machine daily because of these reasons. Some of these difficulties may include an improper fitting mask or a mask that continuously falls off or shifts during sleep, uncomfortable head straps, a general feeling of claustrophobia, latex allergies, general difficulty sleeping due to the noise the CPAP machine makes, or restricted movement during sleep because of the CPAP apparatus. While this machinery has been proven to be successful with many patients, like many other treatments out there for other conditions, it may simply not be the right choice for everyone. If you have sleep apnea but have difficulty using a CPAP machine, there are other options out there that may be better suited to meet your needs in order to help you get a better night’s rest.

Surgery

Sleep apnea can be a difficult condition to live with. This particular sleeping disorder occurs when the airways used for breathing are blocked or partially blocked while sleeping, causing the patient to sometimes stop breathing for periods of time, snore loudly, choke or gasp in the middle of the night and have a generally restless sleep. People who have sleep apnea often suffer from morning headaches and constant fatigue which can be challenging to deal with. There are a number of devices used to help treat sleep apnea, but they may not be appropriate for everyone. There are a number of different alternatives, however, including the option for surgical procedures aimed at resolving the issue.

Surgery for obstructive sleep apnea is often treated as a last resort and is not an option explored until other methods have failed. There are several different procedures that may be implemented, so it really depends on the patient when it comes to determining which approach will be best. One of the more common procedures undertaken in order to improve sleep apnea in adults is Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or UPPP. A tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy are often used in order to treat children who have sleep apnea because the condition is often caused by enlarged tonsils or adenoids in kids. Tracheostomy is another option but is often only used when other treatment options have failed or when treatment is required as soon as possible. Maxillo-mandibular advancement or MMA can be implemented in order to increase the size of the airway. Alternatively, radiofrequency ablation or RFA can be used to reduce the size of the tongue and other tissues that may be blocking the passage to the lungs.

There are other surgical procedures which may help to facilitate better breathing while sleeping but may not pertain specifically to sleep apnea itself, such as surgeries for weight loss.

 

Sleep Disorder | Night Guard | Snoring | Snore | Sleep Apnea