Options for Sleep Apnea Treatment
Just as there are numerous cases of sleep apnea, there are a number of ways that sleep apnea can be treated, and no single solution is right for all patients. Sleep apnea can be treated through use of a CPAP machine, by changing aspects of your lifestyle, or by using an oral appliance that opens up the blocked airways.
Lifestyle changes may be sufficient to help some with milder cases of sleep apnea, but more acute cases will often require medical intervention. For a number of years, one of the most commonly prescribed devices for the treatment of sleep apnea has been the CPAP machine.
- A significant portion of CPAP users report discomfort with the equipment
- CPAP has a good rate of success when properly adjusted and used faithfully
- CPAP uses a bedside air pump and facemask to deliver pressurized air to the sleeper
- This pressurized air helps keep the throat open to allow regulated airflow
- Up to half of all CPAP users discontinue treatment within one to six months
Oral Appliance Therapy
Many sleep medicine professionals still consider CPAP to be the best choice for persons with moderate to severe sleep apnea conditions, while acknowledging that the high dropout rates pose a problem. For those who are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy, the most viable alternative comes from the field of dental sleep medicine in the form of oral appliances. The most common type of oral appliance holds the lower jaw slightly forward to help kept the throat open.
- Most users find oral appliances to be more comfortable than CPAP, and are more likely to continue use
- Oral appliances for sleep are worn inside the mouth, much like a sports mouth guard
- The most common type of oral appliance holds the lower jaw slightly forward to help keep the throat open
- They are constructed from a durable yet comfortable thermoplastic
- This higher acceptance rate gives oral appliances a similar overall rate of cure as CPAP
Because of their higher rate of acceptance by patients, oral appliances are considered the best alternative method of treatment for those who cannot tolerate CPAP. In addition, they are increasingly gaining popularity as a first-line treatment option for many persons diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Users cite a number of additional benefits to oral appliances. These include:
- Discrete, with no complex bedside hardware
- Does not require electricity or special bedside accommodation
- Easy to clean and maintain, with no filters or masks to replace
- Easy to pack and ideal for travel
Choosing the best treatment option for your individual sleep apnea condition is best done with the assistance and advice of dental professionals such as Dr. Tong. Oral appliances are custom fitted and administered only through an accredited and experienced dental sleep medicine professional. To learn more, please contact our office.
7405 North Cedar Ave, Ste 102A
Fresno, CA 93720