If you've landed on this page, you may be looking for sleep apnea treatments for you or a loved one -- and you should! Sleep apnea is a concern as it can cause exhaustion, memory problems, weight gain, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. Luckily, sleep apnea treatment is available to help you get a better night's sleep. Treatment for sleep apnea may vary depending on whether your sleep apnea is mild or severe -- but regardless, you should see a sleep professional before choosing any of the sleep apnea treatments listed below.
Treating Sleep Apnea at Home
The type of sleep apnea treatment you choose depends on the type of sleep apnea you have. As you probably know, sleep apnea is a disruption of sleep patterns caused by a pause in breathing. The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, where the muscles that support your airway become so relaxed that they collapse and block it. But you may have been diagnosed with central sleep apnea, where your brain fails to control breathing, or complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of the two.
There are home remedies for treating sleep apnea. In some cases, mild or obstructive sleep apnea treatment may just be a matter of changing your lifestyle.
Discuss the following sleep apnea treatments with your sleep professional to see what might work for you:
Professional Sleep Apnea Treatment
Unfortunately, not all at-home sleep apnea treatments are effective. An oral appliance or sleep apnea machine may be needed if you help breathing on your own:
Oral Appliances -- There are two types of oral appliances used for mild obstructive sleep apnea treatment: the mandibular advancement device (MAD), which pushes the lower jaw forward to keep the airway open, and the tongue-retaining device, which keeps the tongue from falling back over the airway. Your dentist may choose to do a combination of the two when treating sleep apnea.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) -- Commonly used for obstructive sleep apnea treatment, the CPAP machine consists of a mask that's placed over your nose while you sleep. It works by pumping high-pressurized air into the mask to keep passages open.
Adjustable Airway Pressure Devices -- Some sleep apnea sufferers may find wearing a CPAP mask too uncomfortable. If the CPAP doesn't work for you, there are other sleep apnea treatments on the market. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) exerts a higher pressure when you inhale and lower pressure when you exhale to treat central sleep apnea. Adaptive servo-ventilation (ASV) learns your breathing pattern and stores that info in a computer, then adjusts the pressure to normalize breathing patterns while you sleep.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Surgery
When home therapies and machines don't work, surgery may be necessary. When all else fails, talk to your dentist about your surgical sleep apnea treatment options:
UPPP (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty) -- UPPP removes tissue from back of mouth or top of the throat. UPPP is more commonly used to treat snoring and may not cure sleep apnea if excess tissue is found further down the airway path. This sleep apnea treatment can now be performed with a laser.
Maxillomandibular Advancement -- This dental surgery moves the jaw forward from the face bone, enlarging the space behind the tongue and soft palate to limit obstruction of the throat. Oral surgery may be combined with orthodontics to complete your treatment for sleep apnea.
Tracheostomy -- A tracheostomy (sometimes referred to as a tracheotomy) is only used for severe sleep apnea. During the procedure, a metal or plastic tube is inserted in the throat through an incision in the neck. The protruding tube is covered during the day, but opened at night so you can breathe.
Other Types of Surgery -- Nasal surgery removes polyps or corrects a deviated septum in the nasal cavity, helping you breathe better. Your doctor may also choose to remove your tonsils or adenoids, which can be combined with the UPPP procedure for sleep apnea treatment.
Finding a Solution
Central sleep apnea may be part of a larger problem, such as heart disease or a neuromuscular disorder. In this case, the condition that's causing sleep apnea needs to be treated in order to solve your sleep disorder. Your sleep professional can help determine the cause of your sleep apnea and choose the right sleep apnea treatment for you.
If you need treatment for sleep apnea, we may be able to help! Many dentists are trained to diagnose sleep apnea problems and provide sleep apnea treatments so you can rest easier.
For a great sleep apnea dentist in your area, call us at 1-866-970-0441.