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Sleep Apnea Treatment Options: You Do Have a Choice!

March 30, 2015

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is caused by an obstruction of your upper airway passage. It is characterized by repetitive pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing, called "apneas" (which mean without breath), typically last 20 to 40 seconds per interval.

If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to daytime sleepiness, increased blood pressure and affect the sleeping patterns of your spouse or significant other.

Most individuals will go to their physician and perhaps agree to be observed overnight in a sleep clinic to determine the severity of OSA.

DOCTOR’S PRESCRIPTION: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

CPAP machines increase air pressure in a patient’s throat, so the airway does not collapse when they breathe in. The person must use this machine every night and it usually takes a while for someone to become comfortable with the unit.

Some of the drawbacks of CPAP Therapy are:

  • Dry nose and sore throat
  • Irritation of the eyes (where the mask lays)
  • Abdominal bloating and
  • Mild discomfort in the morning.

DENTIST’S PRESCRIPTION: Dental Oral Appliance

An oral appliance (mouthpiece) from the dentist offers many of the same benefits as CPAP. In fact, many studies have concluded that using a sleep apnea mouthpiece is just as effective as CPAP. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends these oral appliances for patients that suffer from mild-to-moderate OSA, are unable to tolerate CPAP, or refuse to use it.

The benefits are listed below and have been proven in both subjective and objective research projects:

  • Better night’s sleep
  • Reduction in blood pressure
  • Improvement in neuropsychological functioning
  • Permits normal mouth opening
  • Allows for talking and drinking while wearing the unit
  • The appliance is easily adjustable and is custom fitted for snugness.

These acrylic mouthpieces are made from polymers and usually have a life of 3-5 years before replacement is required. In addition, if the patient travels a lot, they do not have to lug around a large mask, tubing, and machine. Just a small appliance that doesn’t require electricity and can easily fit into an overnight bag or briefcase!

For more information on sleep apnea, please visit the Parmar Family & Cosmetic Dentistry website to read about sleep apnea symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

Parmar Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is a caring, qualified dental practice in Clarksville, Maryland. From your first contact with the office, you will notice that Parmar Family & Cosmetic Dentistry has an exceptional team of dedicated, caring and experienced professionals committed to the dental health of you and your family.

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Thanks for sharing these different options for treating sleep apnea. Knowing this information can help you make an informed decision.



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