The bad news about sleep apnea is that it’s a potentially deadly condition that can disrupt virtually every system in the body. The good news is that sleep apnea is also very treatable. In fact, there are three common options for treating sleep apnea: CPAP, oral appliances, and surgery. We can help patients weigh their options and find the option that is best for them.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea in Omaha and are looking for guidance on the best treatment option for you, please call today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.
The CPAP machine, or simply ‘CPAP’, as it is often abbreviated, is truly the gold standard method used in treating patients with sleep apnea. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the most widely used sleep apnea treatment method because, when a patient can comply with the treatment, it is extremely effective at keeping sleep apneics safe while they sleep. The machine requires that the patient wear a mask while sleeping, which is connected to a machine via an air hose. The machine delivers a continuous and steady flow of air throughout the hose that is pressured by the machine. With this continuous airflow the patient never has to worry about not breathing at night.
Even though this machine is the go-to treatment for sleep apnea, many patients do not do well with it. Among many issues, patients who are fitted with it often complain of the discomfort that is caused by it. Many are unable to sleep properly because of the need to wear a mask while others are often unable to get to sleep due to the noise that it makes. Others complain about rashes caused by the mask or frustration with the straps that hold the mask in place.
Whatever the reason, if a patient does not comply with CPAP treatment, it is not an effective method for treating sleep apnea. These patients must find a CPAP alternative.
Oral Appliance Therapy
If people can’t tolerate or don’t comply with CPAP, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is the most common alternative. Studies have confirmed that, overall, OAT is just as effective at treating sleep apnea as CPAP. Because of this, oral appliances are now considered frontline treatment for all levels of apnea and deemed appropriate for people who cannot tolerate CPAP or who prefer an alternative.
There are many different sleep apnea appliances (see here for a partial list of the ones we offer), but most of them utilize the same principle to treat sleep apnea. Most people with sleep apnea have obstructive sleep apnea, in which the soft tissue of the throat collapses during sleep. The jaw is the primary bony support for this tissue, so moving the jaw helps hold the airway open during sleep.
It’s simple, effective, comfortable, and convenient. As a result, studies tracking usage have confirmed that compliance rates with OAT may be as high as 95%, with 84% of users wearing their appliance all night every night.
Sleep Apnea Surgery
There are two types of surgical approaches used for sleep apnea: soft tissue surgeries and jaw surgery. Soft tissue surgeries are less invasive, but they are also less successful. Sometimes people have short-term relief from apnea, but find it develops again in a relatively short time.
Jaw surgery is much more successful. It may cure sleep apnea in as much as 95% of appropriate patients. However, jaw surgery is also more invasive. The surgery may take up to four hours. Recovery may take four weeks or more, during which time you are limited to a liquid or soft foods diet. But for many people, the ability to be completely free of sleep apnea is worth the sacrifice.
Find the Best Sleep Apnea Treatment for You
If you are looking for sleep apnea treatment in Omaha, we can help. We have experience helping thousands of patients find the sleep apnea treatment that best matches their needs and preferences.
Let us help you find the best sleep apnea treatment for you. Please call (402) 493-4175 today for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.