Sleep apnea is a respiratory condition that affects oral health. Although the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask is a popular treatment method, there are patients who cannot, or will not, tolerate the CPAP mask. These patients will try alternative options before acquiescing to the CPAP method.
The doctors and the oral healthcare professionals at R. Boyd Gilleland DDS, located near you in Port Charlotte, want to educate their patients, current and new, on the alternatives to the CPAP mask for sleep apnea. These treatment options begin with your dentist.
Below are the five alternative treatment options for sleep apnea.
Patients choosing not to wear a CPAP mask are becoming increasingly comfortable with a dental appliance. This oral device prevents the airway from collapsing by holding the tongue in position and/or by sliding the jaw forward. A dentist trained in sleep medicine will adjust the appliance specific to a patient’s need.
This appliance is recommended for those with a mild-to-moderate form of sleep apnea.
Generally, undergoing surgery to treat sleep apnea may affect the following areas:
Any patient considering surgery as their alternative treatment should ask and consider the following:
Surgery is not the option for everyone and, in many cases, the benefits are not permanent.
In many cases where a patient is overweight, there is excess tissue in the neck area that blocks the airways. Often, weight loss will improve or eliminate the symptoms of sleep apnea.
This method is recommended for those patients who are overweight and physically able to engage in a weight management program. However, this approach may not work for patients with naturally narrow airway passages.
Positional therapy is a behavioral strategy for those with sleep apnea only when sleeping on their back. Breathing returns to normal when the patient rolls, or is rolled, onto either side.
Positional therapy may involve the wearing of a device around the waist to keep the patient from rolling onto their back. Clinical studies have found that positional therapy is an effective form of treatment.
Behavioral changes, like quitting smoking or not drinking alcohol, often improve the symptoms of sleep apnea. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles that cause the airways to become blocked or collapsed.
If a patient suffers from allergies, sometimes the taking of a decongestant an hour or so before bed will improve breathing through the nose.
If you would like a consultation regarding the alternative treatments to sleep apnea for you or for a member of your family, then please contact the oral healthcare professionals at R. Boyd Gilleland DDS, located in Port Charlotte, where new patients are always welcome.
R. Boyd Gilleland DDS is trusted and highly recommended in the alternative treatments to sleep apnea, as well as other treatments and procedures in general and restorative dentistry.