Sleep Apnea Treatment
According to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), 12-18 million adults in the United States have obstructive sleep apnea, which causes the individual to stop breathing up to hundred of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. These apnea events are often associated with reduced levels of oxygen in the blood. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk for serious health conditions such as stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, obesity, depression, congestive heart failure and impotence.
How is obstructive sleep apnea treated?
Your provider may recommend lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and sedatives, avoiding sleeping on your back, reducing nasal congestion, surgical interventions, continuous positive pressure machines and mandibular advancement devices.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is a mask that seals the mouth or nose, which is connected to a device that provides air pressure to prevent the collapse of the airway, which allows for more effective nighttime breathing.
How is sleep apnea treated without a CPAP machine?
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) can help for the treatment of sleep apnea. For this condition we use a mandibular advancement device, which is a mouth guard-like device worn only during sleep. The mandibular advancement device helps maintain an open airway by supporting the jaw in a forward position and preventing the airway from collapsing.
According to the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), up to 50% of sleep apnea patients are not able to tolerate the CPAP. For many individuals, oral appliances are more comfortable to wear than a CPAP mask. Oral appliances are comfortable, portable, easy to wear and care for and no power is needed. It is important to remember that these are custom fit by a dentist and require adjustments over time to ensure maximum effectiveness.
AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. It can also be recommended for severe apnea patients unable to tolerate CPAP.
If you would like to learn more about which sleep apnea treatment is right for you, book a consultation with our partner sleep dentistry specialist office, Worcester Sleep Dentistry.