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Ways To Treat Sleep Apnea

There are currently three ways to treat OSA with varying degrees of invasiveness and effect. Choosing the correct method for your condition should be done after appropriate testing and with the advice of a trained professional.

Surgery

Surgical treatment options correspond with the severity of the sleep apnea and address specific anatomic issues. These options include processes like nasal airway surgery, Palate and Pharyngeal surgery, and tongue reduction surgery among others. Surgery is typically a last resort for several reasons:

  • Prohibitive cost
  • Each surgery carries risk and can lead to a period of painful recovery lasting 2-3 weeks
  • Individuals receiving surgery may need to take time off of work
  • Surgeries are not guaranteed to relieve sleep apnea or associated comorbidities

CPAP

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) involves wearing a mask placed over the nose and mouth while sleeping. The CPAP mask is attached to an air-compressing machine, which pumps air through the mask and into the airway. Choosing to undergo CPAP treatment is an expensive and time-consuming process entailing the following:

  • Initial consultation with primary care physician
  • Referral to possibly multiple specialists
  • Consultation with specialists
  • Overnight stay in a sleep lab for testing
  • Consultation and diagnostic
  • Purchasing a cumbersome mask and machine
  • Wearing a bulky and noisy mask every night while sleeping
  • Follow up overnight test at a sleep lab
  • Patient responsibility for maintenance and cost of replacement of pump every 3-5 years
  • Patient responsibility for cost of replacement parts (tubes, filters, etc.)
  • Additional sleep lab visits with every replacement pump
  • Additional visits adjustment/titration with every replacement pump

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) uses a custom fitted dental appliance, similar to a retainer, to ensure unrestricted airflow during sleep. DreamSleep dentists are trained to screen and treat sleep apnea using OAT. Scheduling screening and sleep testing with a DreamSleep Dentist, is very convenient and takes place on the first visit . Oral Appliance Therapy consists of three steps:

  • Screening and home sleep test schedule on first visit
  • Delivery of custom-made oral appliance
  • Easy follow-up maintenance once or twice a year

Do not mistake OAT with a drugstore snoreguard, which is not FDA cleared for treating OSA. Attempting to treat OSA with an unapproved device and not under the care of a trained professional could exacerbate the condition leading to potentially serious complications.

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