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Dental Alternatives to CPAP for Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that affects people of all ages. If you think you might have sleep apnea, you should see your doctor or oral health care provider as soon as possible. Treatment can help ease your symptoms. It can also prevent heart problems as well as other complications.
Sleep apnea treatment
CPAP therapy is a very common treatment method recommended to those who have sleep apnea. It involves the use of a machine that delivers air pressure via a mask while a patient sleeps. CPAP machines keep the airway open. These machines are often used by people who have breathing problems during sleep. CPAP therapy helps ensure the airway does not collapse when a patient breathes while sleeping. However, if a person does not want to wear a CPAP mask, there are other alternative treatment options that may be recommended.
Dental and oral appliances are popular options for sleep apnea patients. Some patients often prefer to wear an oral device rather than wearing a CPAP mask. And many of them have become increasingly comfortable with this option and find them easier to use. An oral appliance is designed to keep the patient’s throat open. These devices prevent the airway from collapsing by holding a person’s tongue in position or by sliding the jaw forward so that patients can breathe while they sleep. Oral appliance therapy is ideal for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea who cannot tolerate CPAP.
The most common surgical options eliminate or reduce the extra tissue in the throat that collapses and blocks the airway during sleep. Even though some surgeries can be minimally invasive, others may be more complex. Surgery is not the ideal choice for everyone. Some patients may benefit more from surgery than others.
It is important for people to find out the benefits and negative aspects of surgery before making any decisions. In some cases, the benefits of surgery may not be permanent. Surgical therapies are not considered to be as effective in treating sleep apnea compared to CPAP and oral appliances. But there are some surgical options that may help a patient if the oral appliance or CPAP therapy do not.
There are various lifestyle changes that a patient can make that can improve sleep apnea symptoms. Some can also reduce snoring. Not drinking alcohol or quitting smoking can help improve sleep apnea symptoms. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles which can cause the airway to collapse or someone to snore.
Patients who have allergies can benefit from taking a decongestant before going to bed. They can help improve airflow through the nose. If a patient cannot sleep well even with treatment, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy may be recommended. It can also be suggested if a person has difficulty staying with the treatment plan.
If you do not want to wear a CPAP mask, a provider might recommend other sleep apnea treatment options. Wearing an oral or dental appliance can help ensure the airway does not collapse. Getting surgery can potentially eliminate or reduce the extra tissue in the patient’s throat. Changing some everyday habits can also be immensely beneficial.
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