Oral appliance therapy is the most convenient and popular method for treating sleep apnea. It is an innovative, non-invasive appliance that is worn like a mouth guard. Directed by a dental specialist, oral appliance treatment utilizes a custom-fit “mouth guard-like” device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unhindered airway. An experienced specialist will custom design an appliance specific to the severity of your condition, the anatomy of your jaws, the arrangement of your teeth, and the area of the airway where the obstruction occurs. There are even appliances that can be constructed for patients wearing full and partial removable dentures.
Patients prefer the oral appliance therapy treatment over other treatment methods because of the benefits it offers. Benefits of this treatment method include:
Continuous positive airway devices (CPAP) is a machine that supplies a constant flow of air to maintain an open airway while sleeping. This device requires the user to wear a face mask that is attached to a machine by tubes that supply the airflow. The mask is to be worn over the nose, sometimes over the mouth and nose. It does take time for patients to adjust to their CPAP equipment, therefore, other methods are preferred by patients.
Many of the factors that contribute to sleep apnea can be controlled by lifestyle changes. The following lifestyle changes may help reduce the risk and effects of sleep apnea:
Individuals who are overweight are more likely to suffer with sleep apnea because the extra tissue and fat around the neck area apply pressure on the airway or tongue.
Smoking causes many harmful effects on the lungs and vessels. Breathing will be made easier for the patient if they are sure to avoid smoking.
Drinking alcohol relaxes the muscles of the body, therefore, it can cause the muscles near the throat to relax as well.
Oftentimes, the way the mouth and throat is structured may mean surgery is the optimal treatment method. There are several surgical systems accessible to treat sleep apnea. Types of surgeries to treat sleep apnea include: