How to Treat Sleep Apnea
Serving Choto, Northshore, and surrounding areas of Knoxville, TN
If you have obstructive sleep apnea, then you need to have it professionally treated by a sleep apnea specialist in Choto. Sleep apnea is a sleep-breathing disorder that restricts airflow while sleeping. Ignoring this serious sleep-breathing disorder could lead to negative health consequences.
What happens during a sleep apnea episode?
When you have sleep apnea, your airway is blocked either by a collapse of soft tissue or enlarged soft tissue. These blockages can be partial or complete, which is what causes snoring or gasping for air. As the body and brain are deprived of air, the brain actually awakens out of a deep sleep, which is why many sleep apnea sufferers report that they are tired all the time, even though they believe they are sleeping enough at night. It is because they are not getting quality sleep. These sleep apnea episodes disrupt the sleep cycle and result in constant fatigue. These episodes can occur as many as a hundred times per hour!
Most people who have heard of sleep apnea or who are getting treatment, assume that the CPAP machine is the only way to treat sleep-breathing disorders. However, your Choto Family Dentist is here to tell you that the CPAP is not always the answer. In fact, we have a much less invasive, and more comfortable method of unlocking your airway so that you can get the air that you need, and rest better.
CPAP is not always the answer
Standing for continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP machines work by the patient wearing a mask over their nose while sleeping. The mask forces air into the airway by way of a noisy machine. The CPAP machine has been used to treat sleep apnea for decades.
However, many patients who use CPAP complain of:
- General feeling of discomfort
- Skin irritation caused by wearing the mask
- Frequent dry mouth and/or throat
- Difficulty sleeping, either for the patient or their sleeping partner, because of the noise that is generated by the machine
- Problems with intimacy
- Embarrassment or self-consciousness regarding use of the machine
- Inconvenient during travel
- Can be challenging to maintain
Unfortunately, because of these perils, many sleep apnea sufferers simply ignore treating their sleep-breathing disorder, which can lead to a host of health issues including an increased risk of:
- Heart disease
- Decline in oral health
- Decline in cognitive abilities
- Memory loss
- Loss of focus
If you thought that the CPAP was the only method of treating your sleep apnea, we have good news for you! You no longer have to deal with the inconvenience of the CPAP. Your partner no longer has to have their sleep disrupted by the noisy machine either.
What is our philosophy on sleep apnea treatment?
Your Choto family dentist prefers to prescribe a custom-made oral appliance to treat mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. The purpose of this oral appliance is that it helps to reposition the lower jaw in a more forward position so that it opens the airway. This type of treatment focuses on the cause of the airway problem, not band-aid it with the use of a CPAP machine. Once we restore proper airflow, your body can rest better and get the kind of deep sleep that it needs to thrive.
Custom-made vs. Store Bought
You probably have seen a variety of mouth guards available in stores or online. While these options are probably inexpensive, they do not deliver the same quality treatment as that of a custom-made oral appliance or anti-snoring device. When you get a custom-made oral appliance in Choto, you are getting one made of higher-quality materials, and one that has optimal fit. This also means that your oral appliance will be comfortable and more effective. One of the greatest advantages of a custom-made oral appliance is that they often are adjustable to fit the changing needs of your sleep apnea treatment.
Is oral appliance therapy effective?
Oral appliance therapy has been proven effective in treating obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, many sleep apnea patients who wear an oral appliance report a higher success rate and few negative side effects or issues compared to those who use a CPAP machine. Also, many dental insurance companies are beginning to cover a portion of the cost of an oral appliance. However, this is not a guarantee in every case.
Getting an oral appliance for sleep apnea
Getting a custom-made oral appliance is easy. We simply have you come into our office so that we can take some impressions and digital scans of your mouth. These are used as a guide to fabricate your custom-made appliance. Then, it takes about a week to two weeks for us to receive your oral appliance, in which at that point you return to our office to pick it up. Keep in mind that an oral appliance may not be the best treatment option for every case of sleep apnea. We will conduct a thorough assessment of your airway and may even recommend a sleep study to determine the best mode of treatment for you.
Do I have sleep apnea?
Loud snoring, poor performance at work or school, and daytime fatigue are common symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea. However, the only way to know for certain is to receive an airway or sleep evaluation in Knoxville. At Choto Family Dentistry, we will take the time to assess your individual case before prescribing any treatment.
We will consider these factors:
- The severity of your sleep apnea
- Any other oral health issues that may complicate treatment
- An evaluation of your medical history, and other pre-existing conditions
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Knoxville
If you would like to learn more about sleep apnea and its treatment, contact Choto Family Dentistry by calling (865) 409-5077. We welcome patients of Knoxville, Tennessee, and the communities of Choto and Northshore.