Oral appliance therapy is our focus at Michigan Center for Dental Sleep Medicine. In our office, it has proven effective for over 75% of all patients who snore or have apnea and it is an option that more of our patients are comfortable with.
CPAP is often the first recommendation that is frequently made as a treatment for sleep apnea. In our experience, patients have found it sufficiently uncomfortable that approximately 50% of them cannot use it.
We believe our patients deserve all the information they would like to help them choose the most effective way to treat their snoring or sleep apnea.
It is our recommendation that each patient consider evaluation by a physician or sleep disorders center if they find they:
- Consistently experience daytime drowsiness
- Wake unrefreshed after a full night's sleep
- Fall asleep while driving or at other inopportune times
- Are observed to occassionally stop breathing during sleep
The following suggestions may offer some relief:
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are caused by partial or complete airway blockage. The following steps help increase the possibility that your airway remains open.
- Reduce your weight to within healthy norms
- Avoid alcohol within 4 hours of sleeping
If treatment for snoring or sleep apnea is required, there are a number of options
Snoring - Positional cushion. If your snoring is position-related, we offer a device that is a natural and non-invasive treatment for snoring. This cushion is worn like a soft, lightweight backpack that rests comfortably in place and will prevent you from rolling onto your back during sleep. This cushion can be successful when used alone or in combination with other treatments for snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea - Currently, CPAP (Continuous positive airway pressure) is the primary treatment for people with obstructive sleep apnea. The device is an air blower connected by a flexible hose to a cushioned plastic mask that covers your nose. The blower forces air through the hose and mask into your nose and throat to keep your air passage open during sleep.
Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
An oral appliance is a small acrylic device that fits over your upper and lower teeth (similar to an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard). The appliance slightly advances the lower jaw to open the airway. The result is improved breathing and reduced snoring and apnea. Each appliance is customized to the individual patient by a dentist experienced in the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliances have been proven effective for treating people with snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. They have the advantage of being non-invasive and are usually well-tolerated by patients
There are several surgical options that may be considered by the patient suffering from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. They are:
• Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) A technique that removes a portion of the soft palate and most of the uvula. It is considered less effective for treating people with moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea.
• Somnoplasty (radio frequency surgery) is a minor surgical procedure done in the physician’s office under local anesthesia using a customized electrode that delivers radio frequency energy to the tongue and/or soft palate. This treatment reduces snoring by creating scarring which decreases
vibration of the tissues.
• Reconstructive Surgery - Generally suggested as a last choice because it is irreversible and invasive. Both upper and lower jaws are moved forward to create space for the tongue to move forward out of the throat. This does, however have a high precentage of success.