Answers to Your Questions About Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Answers to Your Questions About Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Sleep apnea is an extremely common condition that affects over 18 million Americans. It is caused by a full or partial obstruction of the airway during sleep. If left untreated, it can lead to insomnia, headaches, high blood pressure, and even an increased risk of heart disease. While there is no magic cure for sleep apnea, there are several treatment options that can drastically improve the quality of your sleep. 

What are my treatment options? 

There are two primary methods of combating sleep apnea: oral appliances and CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines. Oral appliances fit like a mouthguard and either keep your lower jaw from falling back or gently push forward to help keep your airway open while you sleep. A CPAP machine, perhaps the most well-known solution to sleep apnea, consists of a facial mask that continuously pushes air into your nose or mouth. Air pressure may need to be adjusted, but once the right combination is found, the CPAP machine becomes an extremely effective solution to sleep apnea. Patient needs can vary, so it’s a good idea to explore both options to determine which is right for you. 

Are oral appliances uncomfortable?

Oral appliances are custom-made to fit each patient’s individual mouth. Because these devices are fully customized, most (if not all) discomfort is minimized. In fact, most patients quickly adapt to their personalized oral appliance. 

Are CPAP machines noisy?

One of the biggest misconceptions about CPAP machines is that they tend to be overly noisy. While CPAP machines are not totally silent, the sound typically does not exceed 30 decibels. That’s about as loud as a whisper, so the machine should not keep you awake. 

Can oral appliances and CPAP machines be used together?

After consulting with their doctors, some patients choose to use both an oral appliance and a CPAP machine. The addition of an oral appliance allows the user to decrease the pressure exerted by the CPAP machine, which can make the mask more comfortable to wear. 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation to discuss your sleep apnea treatment plan, don’t hesitate to contact the office of John Carson, DDS at (520) 514-7203. Dr. Carson is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and has helped many patients cope with this common sleep disorder.