Can My Sleep Apnea Be Treated with Something More Comfortable than a CPAP Machine?

Over the last couple of decades, the prevalence of sleep apnea has been on the rise, and it now affects more than 25 million Americans, which is 26% of adults between the ages of 30 and 70. And the condition extends far beyond the loss of sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea has been linked to Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and other very serious health complications. 

At our practice, Dr. Hyun S. Bang understands the widespread impact that sleep apnea can have on your health, and she also understands the drawbacks of one of the more popular treatments for sleep apnea — the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. As dental experts, we offer alternative treatments that help our San Francisco patients breathe easier at night.

Here’s a look at how we can treat your sleep apnea with something more comfortable than a CPAP machine.

Sleep apnea 101

Before we get into how we can successfully treat sleep apnea, let’s take a look at what exactly this problem is to better understand how we, as dentists, can help.

When we talk about sleep apnea, we’re largely referring to the more common type of the condition — obstructive sleep apnea. This form of the sleep disorder causes you to stop breathing while you sleep as a result of your throat muscles relaxing too much and blocking your airway. This can happen dozens of times an hour, and each time it happens your brain registers the lack of oxygen and wakes you.

You may not be aware of these episodes as you quickly fall back to sleep, but we’re sure anyone sleeping next to you or in the same house does register the problem, as snoring is one of the hallmarks of obstructive sleep apnea.

Treating sleep apnea

One of the first treatments your doctor may recommend is a CPAP machine, which is a device with a breathing mask that delivers pressurized air into your throat. While effective, the CPAP machine is not without considerable drawbacks. First, the mask can be cumbersome while you sleep. Second, the machine needs to be hooked up to a power source and does make some noise, which can disturb both you and your bedmate. Lastly, the CPAP machine isn’t terribly convenient for taking with you while you travel.

Thankfully, we offer alternative options to treat sleep apnea, including:

Mandibular advancement device (MAD)

For all intents and purposes, a MAD is much like an athletic mouthguard or night guard for teeth grinding. This oral device works by gently easing your lower jaw forward, which frees up your airway. All you need to do is pop it in every night to facilitate your breathing while you sleep.

Tongue-stabilizing device (TSD)

This oral appliance resembles a pacifier and works by holding your tongue forward, preventing it from slipping back and blocking your airways when your throat muscles relax.

The advantages of both of these oral appliances over a CPAP machine are myriad and include:

Getting fitted for an oral appliance is easy, and we do it right here in our office. Once your appliance is ready, we ensure that it fits your mouth properly before sending you home to get a good night’s rest.

To learn more about successfully treating sleep apnea with an oral device, please give us a call at 415-213-2599 or reserve an appointment using our easy online scheduling tool

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