Sleep apnea is a disorder in which a patient experiences one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. The sleep disruption caused by sleep apnea can negatively impact your quality of sleep, leaving you tired and irritable.
Sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and/or surgery.
For mild sleep apnea, lifestyle changes (weight loss, smoking cessation, clearing nasal passages) may be helpful in relieving the symptoms.
For moderate to severe sleep apnea, a breathing device called a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) may be helpful. A CPAP machine uses a mask that fits over your mouth and/or nose and gently blows air into your throat. This air pressure helps keep your airway open while you sleep.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) can also help alleviate the symptoms of patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. With this approach, our office creates a custom-fitted oral appliance for patients to wear when they are sleeping. The appliance aids patients during sleep by positioning the lower jaw and tongue in a way that minimizes airway obstruction. OAT is often an effective alternative to CPAP for patients who may be uncomfortable wearing the mask at night.