Sleep Apnea Therapy
Sleep apnea is the condition that causes sufferers to stop breathing and wake up hundreds of times per night. Symptoms include chronic snoring, fatigue, and fitful sleep. If you have recently received a diagnosis for obstructive sleep apnea from your general doctor or a sleep medicine physician, that’s actually good news. It means a treatment and solution are on the way. Sleep dentist Dr. William Langston treats obstructive sleep apnea at Long Creek Dental -- keep reading to find out more about sleep apnea therapy.
The Need for Sleep Apnea Therapy
People dealing with sleep apnea in Sunnyvale should not ignore their symptoms. Left untreated, sleep apnea takes a serious health toll -- and, in the worst cases, it can result in premature death. Sleep apnea deprives your brain of oxygen every time breathing is interrupted; that can be anywhere from five to 100 interruptions per hour. Over time, that equals a lot of lost air. Sleep apnea has been linked to serious heart conditions (heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke), depression, and others.
Obstructive sleep apnea is far more likely to occur in patients who are overweight or obese. When weight is the primary cause of the sleep disorder, your doctor will advise you to combine formal sleep apnea therapy with a weight loss regimen for maximum effectiveness and healthier living overall.
The most common method for treating obstructive sleep apnea is with the CPAP, or the continuous positive airway pressure machine. It is a small facial mask that works by forcing air into the lungs throughout the night, preventing the collapse of the tongue and lower jaw to keep the airway clear during sleep.
The CPAP needs water to function, and many models emit a slight noise while in use. The machine is made up of three parts:
- Motor: A small compressor that pressurizes air to create the perfect flow to prop your airway open. It has a water tank to moisturize the air you breathe in, and a small filter that keeps impurities and particles from the air out of your body.
- Hose: Delivers air from the motor to your airway through the small facial mask.
- Facial mask: The part you wear during sleep. Masks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to maximize your comfort and compliance.
When CPAP therapy is effective, it provides significant relief from sleep apnea symptoms and allows patients to sleep soundly once again. Unfortunately, many patients find they are unable to sleep with the CPAP -- some find it uncomfortable to wear the small mask, and others are bothered by the noise. These patients are deemed “CPAP intolerant,” and require an alternate treatment method.
Removable Oral Appliance
For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea or CPAP intolerant patients, the removable oral appliance provides an effective treatment option. It is a small, portable mouthpiece that looks something like an athletic mouthguard, and is custom-fitted to your unique oral structures for maximum comfort.
The removable oral appliance works by shifting your lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing their collapse during sleep. For patients who have not found success with the CPAP, the benefits of the removable oral appliance are many.
Compared to CPAP, the removable oral appliance is...
- Far more comfortable
- Portable for easy travel
- Does not require any set-up
- Sip water while wearing most types of oral appliances
- Easy to wear throughout the night
The Secret to Successful Sleep Apnea Therapy
No matter which treatment is best for you, the key to finding relief from your sleep apnea symptoms with any device is the same: your compliance! Wear your prescribed treatment every single night for refreshing sleep. Let us know if your treatment is uncomfortable and prevents your continued use -- we will try another solution until you have the relief you need from sleep apnea.
Schedule an Appointment Today
If you have recently received a diagnosis for sleep apnea or if you have yet to find a treatment method that works for you, we invite you to get in touch with your sleep doctor at Long Creek Dental. Dr. Langston will evaluate your needs and identify the treatment that is best for you, including CPAP alternatives. Request an appointment today!