Sleep Apnea Treatment
By Austin dentist, Dr. Dan Matthews
Sleep apnea treatment begins with a diagnosis. While Dr. Matthews has plenty of knowledge and experience as a general dentist and treating sleep apneics, Dr. Matthews is not certified to diagnose you with sleep apnea. However, with the help of a sleep physician, you can be diagnosed properly. Once diagnosed, Dr. Matthews can then work with you to find a sleep apnea treatment method that is right for you. The type of sleep apnea you suffer from will be a factor in the type of sleep apnea treatment that you are given. Patients should know that there is no one set type of sleep apnea treatment that works for every patient. If one treatment method doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of others to try. Don’t give up on finding the proper treatment method if the first one doesn’t work. Contact Dr. Matthews to learn more about sleep apnea treatment at our Austin dental office.
CPAP – Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
If you know anything about sleep apnea, you probably at least know of the term CPAP. The CPAP machine has become the gold-standard for treating sleep apnea, especially those sleep apneics who suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea or central sleep apnea. The CPAP is the go-to treatment method for sleep apnea because it has proven to be effective, that is, for those patients who can tolerate it.
Some patients have found the CPAP to be more troublesome than helpful, often due to the noise of the machine and the discomfort the CPAP mask can cause. In these cases, Dr. Matthews recommends oral appliance therapy.
Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)
Oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea involves the use of a mouthpiece that the patient wears in his/her mouth, similar to a mouthguard, in order to keep the soft tissues within the throat from collapsing while the patient sleeps. In this way, the airway is kept open and the patient can breathe freely throughout the night. Oral appliance therapy has proven to be very successful, especially for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
There are many different sleep apnea appliances that can be used. Each appliance is a bit different from the next, though the purpose of each one is to ensure that you are breathing properly throughout the night.
Surgery for Sleep Apnea Treatment
For some patients, surgery is a necessary fix to treat sleep apnea. Surgery is sometimes indicated for sleep apneics with enlarged adenoids and tonsils as well as other soft palate tissues, such as the uvula, that can cause blockage within the airway. Through surgery these soft tissues are removed. If these tissues are the sole cause of the apnea, then surgery can be a literal life-saver, but it is invasive and irreversible, so it is best for sleep apnea sufferers to try oral appliance therapy and other sleep apnea treatment methods before resorting to sleep apnea surgery.
Another type of surgery that may help in the treatment of sleep apnea is bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery). Obesity, a growing problem today, can contribute to obstructive sleep apnea, and while patients should always try to lose weight the old fashioned way, some patients need surgical help to drop the pounds before they can transition to a healthier lifestyle.
Sleep Safer with Sleep Apnea Treatment
For sleep apneics of all types, sleep apnea treatment is a must if you value your life and your health. Without sleep apnea treatment, you will continue to suffer from pauses in breathing throughout the night, a condition that slowly, but surely, chips days off of your life. Take charge of your health and come to Dr. Matthews for sleep apnea treatment in Austin. All it takes is a phone call to (512) 452-2273. Patients can also contact us online.
Dr. Matthews is a general dentist.