Sleep Apnea Treatment

Dr. Shapira

Suffering from sleep problems like snoring and trouble breathing?

sleep-apnea-treatmentAre you having problems sleeping and keep waking up at night suddenly, as well as snoring loudly? You could have something called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is surprisingly common right across America. It can occur at any age and to either gender, but it is more common amongst older males.  Many patients have sleep apnea, sometimes severe but do not fit the typical pattern.

It is quite simply the narrowing or blockage of the airway while you are asleep. This means at times there is a restriction in the amount of oxygen you take into the lungs. The outcome of this could be trouble breathing and snoring.  Patients who have sleep apnea usually have a smaller airway when awake as well and are predisposed to apnea when their muscles are relaxed.  Patients with forward head posture or recessive chins are at greater risk for sleep apnea.

These are some typical symptoms of sleep apnea:

  • Loud and persistent snoring
  • Persistent sleepiness during the day
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Decrease in work efficiency
  • Morning headaches
  • Morning dry mouth
  • Needing to hit the snooze button on your alarm
  • difficult to control diabetes
  • Weight Gain or altered metabolism

What’s causing that sleep apnea?

Quite a lot of research has gone into finding out what causes sleep apnea. Some of the causes are listed below:

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Thick necks
  • Acid reflux
  • Large tongues relative to the size of the mouth.
  • Sleeping on your back (supine)

What these tend to do is relax the muscles in your airway so much that it might become difficult for you to breathe. A dental solution may be available, in the form of some oral appliances which can help to let you get more sleep, but you may need to tackle lifestyle changes too.

A treatment that fits in the palm of your hand

An oral appliance can help with sleep apnea treatment, but does not cure the problem. It can help to relieve the symptoms and there are many available for you to choose from.

Thornton Adjustable Positioner (TAP)

This is a comfortable, adjustable mouthpiece, which helps to make sure your airway is kept open so that you can maintain correct breathing. The device pushes your lower jaw forward into such a position that the airway remains open.  Better breathing takes place with less snoring so you and your partner can get a decent night’s sleep.

The MAS – Dorsal Fin Device, made by SomnoMed

This is a custom-made oral appliance, which is made up of upper and lower dental plates with a specially designed fin-coupling piece allowing the mouth to open and close normally. This device helps to adjust your jaw level. This improves the comfort level and effectiveness of your treatment, as the jaw is only moved as far as is necessary to reduce sleep apnea and alleviate snoring so that you can sleep better.

Herbst Telescopic Appliance

This appliance may be effective if you are a chronic snorer and also have moderate to mild obstructive sleep apnea. This adjustable appliance should allow you to move your jaw both laterally and vertically, eliminating the necessity to disengage it. It is fitted onto your teeth with clasps, but friction helps to hold it in place too. If it is first positioned in the wrong place it can be removed and repositioned using shims to ensure a sufficient supply of oxygen reaches your lungs.

In some cases, we may recommend dental treatments such as orthodontics or a mouth reconstruction (with veneers, implants, and other treatments) to help treat your sleep problems

Could one of these work for you?

If after reading this you think there is a solution to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms, then you may need to have a thorough examination to determine what is the root cause of your sleep disorder. We may be able to help you breathe better and help reduce sleep disorder symptoms by fitting a suitable orthotic device.

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