What is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)? This disorder is caused by repetitive collapse of the upper airway in your sleep. It happens when the muscles supporting your throat’s soft tissues, such as your soft palate and tongue, relax. This action causes the narrowing or even closure of your airway; consequently, your breathing could be cut off.
Usually, air should flow seamlessly via the nose and mouth into your lungs, even in your sleep. Apneic episodes refer to the periods when your experience temporary breathing stoppage.
While OSA is more prominent among older males, it could affect anyone, including kids. However, the incidences are higher in postmenopausal women.
If you experience sleep apnea, there shouldn’t be any cause for panic as there are different treatment methods offered at Burton Dentistry that could work for you. They include:
Exercise and weight management are recommended for people diagnosed with sleep apnea and obesity. While it isn’t linked to complete remission, weight loss has proven to decrease the severity of sleep apnea.
When recommended by your doctor, weight loss also helps reduce blood pressure, improve your life quality and reduce daytime sleepiness.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is the first course of action for OSA patients. Your doctor administers it through a face mask that you’ll wear during your sleep. This mask works by gently delivering positive airflow to ensure the airways remain open at all times during your bedtime. The positive airflow will prop the airways open.
CPAP is highly effective in treating OSA. People suffering from mild to moderate sleep apnea that can’t benefit from CPAP therapy could opt for an oral appliance.
Oral appliances are smaller and more portable compared to CPAP machines. They are also easy to clean. They resemble sports mouthguards and are available in over 100 different types. The devices work by moving your lower jaw forward or holding your tongue in position. This action prevents your upper airway tissues and your tongue from collapsing and obstructing your airway in your sleep.
People with mild to moderate OSA will find oral dental devices for sleep apnea a suitable option. However, they work best when custom-fitted. Ill-fitting appliances could result in jaw problems and worsen sleep apnea.
Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BPAP)
BPAP machines are excellent alternatives .in cases where CPAP therapy has proven ineffective. These machines constitute settings that deliver two pressures in response to your breathing: exhaled and inhaled pressure. Unlike the CPAP, using the BPAP machine doesn’t give constant pressure all through. People on CPAP may experience trouble exhaling with steady pressure, so the BPAP provides you with less air when you breathe out.
Sleeping On Your Side
Another thing that has been shown to relieve obstructive sleep apnea symptoms is sleeping on your side. Because sleeping in a supine position could worsen the symptoms of OSA in most people, your doctor may recommend positional therapy to help you learn how to sleep on your side.
Surgery is usually the last resort after oral appliances, CPAP, or BPAP machines have failed. Surgical treatment is most suitable for people whose OSA is a result of a severe surgically treatable, blocking lesion in the upper airway.
Are you a surgical candidate? Here are the factors that will determine this:
During a surgical evaluation, your doctor performs a physical examination to inspect your upper airway’s anatomy. Also, they will insert a laryngoscopy through your nose. This thin instrument lights and magnifies your upper airway.
Another way to fight apnea is by cutting your alcohol intake. Alcohol is associated with sleep apnea, as drinking before sleeping significantly increases sleep apnea symptoms. Excessive alcohol consumption could narrow your airway, making sleep apnea episodes last longer.
Are you a resident of Alexandria or the surrounding communities looking for a dentist’s office near you for relief from obstructive sleep apnea? Our team is glad to help provide top-tier treatment in a customer-friendly environment. Call us today and .book an appointment.