Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Assessment

Oral appliances can be helpful in the treatment of snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) & sleep apnea. They are designed to assist breathing by keeping the jaw & tongue forward, which opens the airway in the throat. There is well-documented proof that oral appliances have significantly reduced snoring & sleep apnea for many people. However, this therapy may not work for every individual.

A restricted airway in the throat, nasal blockages & obesity are just a few factors that can contribute to snoring & sleep apnea. No two patients are alike, so each patient will have a different set circumstances contributing to their sleep apnea. For this reason, oral appliances may not relieve snoring &/or apnea for all patients. To ensure effective treatment, Stratford Dental provides post-testing for all patients who undergo oral appliance therapy.

Click here to learn more about the sleep apnea home test. If you are interested in taking this test, please call us to schedule your consultation with Dr. Brian Evans at  630-980-3880.

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)

Mild to moderate sleep apnea can be treated with a custom-fabricated oral appliance. This can also work for patients diagnosed with severe sleep apnea & who are CPAP intolerant.

OAT is frequently a useful alternative to CPAP therapy. Custom-fabricated oral appliances reposition the tongue & lower jaw during sleep. The oral appliance produces support for the airway that tends to struggle during sleep. This treatment can be extremely successful for both snoring & sleep apnea.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends OAT as first-line treatment for those with mild to moderate OSA. For patients with severe OSA, CPAP remains the best option. However, if intolerable, an oral appliance can be prescribed by your physician. There are several different types of FDA-approved oral appliances used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. They are comfortable & easy to wear & most people find it only takes a couple weeks to get used to wearing the device during sleep. Most patients prefer using these oral appliances instead of CPAP, because they are small, easy to move with & silent. Oral appliance therapy can be done alone or in combination with other therapies. OAT includes choosing a personalized design for the patient’s individual needs. Dr. Evans will perform a comprehensive examination to determine which appliance is right for you.

The Moses™

This is an acrylic, custom-fabricated appliance. The Moses appliance supports the lower jaw in a forward position with low muscle activity & it prevents the collapse of the tongue in the throat. It increases the volume of space for the tongue in the mouth & dilates throat muscles, which opens the airway. The Moses adjusts the position of the hyoid bone, which holds up the tongue, in relation to the base of the skull & it also restricts jaw muscle movement. This reduces or prevents jaw clenching & teeth grinding.

The Dream TAP®

The Dream TAP® is an oral appliance that is worn while sleeping & is adjustable. This appliance positions the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue & soft tissue of the throat from collapsing into the airway. It also keeps a clear airway to decrease snoring & improve breathing.

What is CPAP / APAP Therapy?

CPAP stands for is continuous positive airway pressure & APAP stands for automatic positive air pressure. Both of these systems deliver air from a bedside machine into a tube that connects to a mask for your nose. The air forces & maintains the airway open while you sleep. There are several different CPAP/APAP designs, but many people find these masks uncomfortable & cumbersome to wear. The noise created from the machine can disturb your partner’s sleep & the machine itself is difficult to travel with. For these reasons, many patients dislike using CPAP/APAP to treat snoring & sleep apnea.

Surgery

Surgery may be suggested if traditional therapies don’t work or become intolerable.

If necessary, surgery can eliminate excess tissue in the throat to widen the airway. This lets air move through the throat more easily as you breathe, decreasing the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. The tissues that are removed may include:

  • Uvula: Finger-shaped tissue that hangs down in the back of the throat & extends to the roof to the mouth.
  • Soft Palate: Part of the roof of the mouth.
  • Inflamed tonsils: Throat tissue & adenoids.

If an enlarged tongue is causing your sleep apnea, the surgeon may remove a small part of the tongue.

You’ll need to see an ear, nose & throat specialist in addition to a sleep physician to determine if a surgical procedure is necessary.

Call us today with any questions or to book your appointment!


 630-980-3880


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