Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a condition marked by multiple stoppages in your breathing during sleep. Often, these pauses in breathing will only last a few seconds, and you may not even realize that you suffer from the condition unless your partner informs you of your incessant snoring, a symptom commonly associated with sleep apnea.
It is important to seek out treatment for your sleep apnea as soon as you become aware of the problem. Failure to treat the condition may result in serious health complications down the road, including:
- Cardiovascular problems
- High blood pressure
- Chronic fatigue
- Complications with medications and surgery
- Relationship problems
Treatment Options for Mild Sleep Apnea
There are a variety of treatment options for your sleep apnea. Portland cosmetic dentist Dr. Sue Wendling will recommend the best option for you based on the severity of your condition and your unique medical history.
For mild cases of sleep apnea, you may be able to treat the condition by making minor lifestyle adjustments including:
- Sleeping on your side instead of your back
- Reducing alcohol intake
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight
- Getting more sleep each night
- Elevating your head while sleeping
- Refraining from eating heavy meals just before bedtime
Treatments for Moderate to Severe Sleep Apnea
If simple lifestyle changes do not help resolve your sleep apnea, then Dr. Wendling may recommend one of the following treatment methods:
- Oral appliance therapy – Dr. Wendling may give you a custom-fit oral appliance to treat your sleep apnea. These devices are worn while you sleep to prevent airway obstruction so that you can breathe more easily throughout the night.
- CPAP – Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a treatment method that uses a mask, hose, and blower to force air through your upper airway passage while you sleep. Although this is a very common treatment method, less than 50% of patients find it effective due to the cumbersome and uncomfortable apparatus required.
- DNA appliance – The DNA appliance is an excellent treatment method for patients whose sleep apnea is caused by an underdeveloped jaw. Using principles of neuromuscular dentistry, the device employs a series of springs to move your teeth into proper alignment, and develop your upper and lower jaws.
- Surgery – Surgery is generally only recommended as a last resort for severe sleep apnea patients who are unable to correct the issue with a more conservative treatment method. There are a variety of surgeries that may correct the underlying conditions causing sleep apnea.
To learn more about the many sleep apnea treatments available to you, please contact our Portland cosmetic dentistry office today to schedule your initial consultation. Dr. Wendling serves patients in Portland, Lake Oswego, and West Linn, Oregon.