Treating Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea can be effectively treated. Depending on whether your OSA is mild, moderate or severe, your doctor will select the treatment that is best for you.
If you are diagnosed with mild sleep apnea, your dentist or medical doctor may suggest you employ the non-medical treatments recommended to reduce snoring: weight loss; avoiding alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of bedtime; no sedatives; and a change of sleeping positions. In mild cases, these practical interventions may improve or even cure snoring and sleep apnea.
Your dentist in Madison at First Choice Dental can possibly help with your mild to moderate sleep apnea, with the use of an oral appliance. Recent studies have shown that an oral appliance can be an effective first-line therapy. The oral appliance is a molded device that is placed in the mouth at night to hold the lower jaw and bring the tongue forward. By bringing the jaw forward, the appliance elevates the soft palate or retains the tongue to keep it from falling back in the airway and blocking breathing. Oral appliances are often effective for patients with mild to moderate OSA for whom the behavioral changes outlined above do not alleviate the issue.
Patients using an oral appliance should have regular follow-up office visits with their dentist or Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon to monitor compliance, to ensure the appliance is functioning correctly and to make sure their symptoms are not worsening.
Surgery for Sleep Apnea
Surgical intervention performed by a medical doctor may be a viable alternative for some OSA patients; however, it is important to keep in mind that no surgical procedure is universally successful. Every patient has a different shaped nose and throat, so before surgery is considered your Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon will measure the airway at several points and check for any abnormal flow of air from the nose to lungs.