You have choices when it comes to sleep apnea treatment
While snoring can be very distracting to others, by itself it’s not usually a health concern. However snoring can be an indicator of something more serious – sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a blockage in your breathing tube (your airway) that occurs when your throat muscles, tissues or tongue fall to the back of your throat during sleep.
A normal airway is the size of a garden hose
During sleep apnea your airway can be compressed down to the size of a small drinking straw.
Think about the volume difference between a drinking straw and a garden hose! While you can still breath with a small airway, you are not moving air as freely or as easily as you should.
Sleep apnea, can lead to chronic hypoxia resulting in an increased risk for heart disease and stroke. It can also cause chronic fatigue that can impact many aspects of your life.
Looking for a sleep apnea treatment option?
Depending on the type and severity of your case, there are a few different sleep apnea treatment options:
- For very mild cases of sleep apnea, treatment might include losing weight, avoiding alcohol, sleeping on your side instead of your back, or sleeping with your head and chest elevated
- Mild to moderate cases can often be treated with oral appliance
- Moderate and severe cases of sleep apnea often require combination therapy and additional corrective measures to properly manage the condition
Oral appliance therapy can be an effective sleep apnea treatment option for many patients. For this treatment option, Dr. Lachman fits you with an appliance that’s similar to one you would use as a treatment option for jaw problems or TMJ.
These appliances work by positioning your jaw and/or tongue forward to help keep your airway open during sleep. Oral appliance therapy can also be a treatment option for snoring.
Many physicians initially recommend CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) as a treatment for sleep apnea.
CPAP, Bi-PAP, or PAP machines do work. The problem is many people find them uncomfortable and difficult to adapt to.
If you find CPAP treatment difficult to use, or if you abandon treatment either halfway through the night or completely, talk to Lethbridge dentist Dr. Lachman and your medical doctor about an oral appliance for sleep apnea.
While, as noted above, moderate and severe cases of sleep apnea often require combination therapy, an oral appliance could be a tool in your sleep apnea treatment option kit.
Surgery for sleep apnea
Surgery by itself is rarely effective in treating sleep apnea. It’s important your health care practitioners work together to help you to manage your sleep apnea.
Dr. Lachman, your medical doctor, ear, nose and throat doctor or sleep specialist will all have valuable input and insight into the best sleep apnea treatment option or options for you.
Along with surgery if it is indicated, non-surgical treatment options can also be considered to manage sleep apnea.
Need more information?
To learn more about sleep apnea, snoring and your treatment options, please schedule a consultation.