Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea

Jun 10 • 2 minute read

Sleep apnea is an uncomfortable condition with serious consequences such as heart disease, obesity, and stroke. A body deprived of deep slumber cannot sufficiently replenish important hormones and insulin. Whether your sleep apnea is mild to severe, it’s important that you treat your symptoms, so you can get the rest you need. If you or a loved one are showing symptoms of sleep apnea, seek medical care at your earliest convenience.

Dentists and general doctors are both good sources for sleep apnea treatment. Only healthcare providers can diagnose this condition, but some symptoms can indicate you are experiencing sleep apnea:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air while sleeping
  • Irritability

To effectively treat your condition your doctor must first determine which of the two types of sleep apnea you have.

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is a neurological issue where the brain shuts down, causing lapses in communication with the muscles that control breathing. This type of sleep apnea is typically treated with medication.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is caused by an intermittent airflow blockage, rather than a neurological miscommunication. The blockage may be triggered by obesity, large tonsils, misalignment in the jaw, or a small throat.

Both conditions limit the amount of air that reaches your lungs, depriving your brain and body of oxygen. Sleep apnea can affect your quality of life, lead to more serious health issues, and even be a public health hazard if you operate machinery for a living. In some cases, sleep apnea can be alleviated with lifestyle changes like losing weight, avoiding smoking, alcohol, and certain medications. Many cases will require more extensive treatment that will be supervised by your physician and your dentist.

CPAP Machine

CPAP stands for “continuous positive airway pressure.” This machine keeps the airway from collapsing with a continuous and gentle flow of air. Humidifiers, filters, and temperature control make the airflow a comfortable experience for the sleeper. Most newer machines are very quiet and do not disturb those around you.

Oral Appliances

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, an oral appliance may be the simple solution. These devices are like a dental retainer in appearance and application. They hold the airway open my manipulating the position of the jaw.

For some people treating the causes of sleep apnea, related conditions like heart disease or neuromuscular disorders can also help relieve sleep apnea symptoms. For more information regarding sleep apnea diagnosis and treatment, contact the skilled dental professionals at Fair Oaks Family Dental. 

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