A Guide To Sleep Apnea Treatment

A Guide To Sleep Apnea Treatment

October 1, 2021

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep problem in which breathing suddenly and repeatedly stops and starts during the night. Signs like waking up feeling tired or snoring might indicate you have sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, symptoms can be mild to serious.

Generally, there are three major types of sleep apnea.

  • Central Sleep Apnea happens when the brain fails to send correct signals to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea is a common but moderate type of sleep apnea that happens when the throat muscles relax.
  • Complex Sleep Apnea – This disorder is also called treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It happens when someone has both central and obstructive sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Depending on the type of sleep apnea that you have, you may experience varying symptoms. The most common symptoms for all three types of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Episodes of interrupted sleep
  • Gasping for air when sleeping
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty concentrating during the day
  • Irritability
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty staying asleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Waking up feeling tired

If you experience or suspect you have sleep apnea, see a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor can identify the underlying problem and treat it to ease the symptoms and prevent further complications.

  • Sleep Apnea Treatment

Sleep apnea treatments depend on several factors, including the severity of the condition, existing medical conditions, personal preference, and the cost of the treatment, among other factors. You should work with your doctor to determine the best type of treatment for your condition. For sleep apnea procedures and treatments, contact Belknap Dental Associates.

Depending on the cause of your sleep apnea, your dentist can recommend several treatments options.

  • Lifestyle Changes

These include:

  • Avoiding alcohol before bedtime
  • Not eating before bedtime
  • Sleeping on your side
  • Elevating your head with a pillow when sleeping
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight
  • Addressing the underlying condition
  • CPAP

CPAP is typically the most effective and popular treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. The treatment is delivered using a CPAP machine that consists of 3 major parts. First, the mask – it fits over the nose or nose and mouth, and it’s held in place using straps as you sleep.

Second – the motor, which is used to blow the air pressure down the throat to keep the airways open as you sleep. Lastly, the cannula is the large tube that connects the mask to the motor.

CPAP machines are small, fairly quiet, and lightweight, meaning that you can travel with them. While it might take time to get used to wearing the CPAP, it will keep your airway open when sleeping, improving your breathing and sleep quality. Even better, they ease snoring, relieve daytime tiredness, and regulate your blood pressure.

The only downside of wearing CPAP is that you may experience some side effects such as:

  • Sore or dry mouth
  • Nasal congestion, runny nose, nosebleeds, or sinusitis
  • Feelings of confinement from the face mask
  • Stomach discomfort and bloating
  • Discomfort in the chest muscles
  • Irritation over the bridge of the nose

If you experience any side effects, contact your doctor immediately. They can make an adjustment to your CPAP machine for a more comfortable fit.

  • Mouth Devices

If a CPAP machine and lifestyle changes don’t improve your symptoms, you can consider oral appliances. To ensure maximum comfort and efficiency, these devices should be customized by your dentist or orthodontist.

  • Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) – MADs are the most popular mouth devices for sleep apnea. They look like a mouthguard and are worn over the lower and upper dental arches. The devices also have metal hinges to keep the lower jaw forward.
  • Tongue Retaining Device – This device keeps the airway open by holding the tongue in place.
  • Surgical Options

If your symptoms don’t improve after using the above treatments, your doctor or dentist may recommend surgical procedures. Surgical procedures work by adjusting your structures to reduce obstruction in the airways. Surgical treatment options include uvulopalatopharyngoplasty and maxillary-mandibular advancement surgery.

Schedule An Appointment

Are you concerned about your sleep apnea symptoms? Contact Belknap Dental Associates today for sleep apnea services.

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