Treatment of Sleep Apnea

The treatment of Sleep Apnea may not be solved by a single solution. The combination of oral appliance therapy along with: Good sleep habits, weight loss, and exercise are some helpful techniques which can assist in reducing the severity or greatly help obstructive sleep apnea. Medical and dental treatments include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Oral appliance therapy, and Surgery. Each persons situation is unique so Dr. Planer will work with you and your Pulmonologist to devise the best path of treatment.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure or better known as CPAP is pressurized air provided by a bedside machine. The air is delivered through a tube that connects to a mask, covering the nose. The force of this air forces and maintains the airway open while you sleep. There are several different mask designs for people to try, however, many people find these masks uncomfortable and cumbersome to wear. The noise created from the machine as well as the hissing which can be produced by the mask can keep a spouse up. If one has to travel for work or pleasure, these machines can be cumbersome and difficult to travel with. {NEED TO REDO}It is for these reasons that many find they are intolerant of a CPAP machine.

Surgery

Generally, surgery is indicated when conservative therapies have been unsuccessful or intolerable. Surgery may be an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but only if performed competently and on correctly identified anatomic sites that contribute to the airway obstruction. It is necessary to work with an ENT in addition to the Sleep physician to determine if surgical procedures are necessary.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy is indicated for patients with primary snoring or mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Appliances are also an effective alternative for patients with severe OSA who are intolerant or refuse to wear nasal CPAP. Oral appliances are small devices that you wear while you sleep to treat snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. They are similar in size to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard. They are comfortable and easy to wear and most people find it only takes a couple weeks to become acclimated to wearing the device to sleep. People like to use these oral appliances because they are compact, easy to travel with, and quiet, unlike the CPAP. Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other therapies mentioned above.

Oral appliances work to treat your apnea by preventing the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of your throat, keeping your airway open to allow adequate air intake. They work to reposition the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate, and uvula. They also stabilize the lower jaw and tongue and help to increase the muscle tone of the tongue.

There are approximately 40 FDA approved appliances to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy involves selecting an appropriate design and then custom fitting it to your teeth. Dr. Planer will do a comprehensive examination to determine what type of appliance will be successful for you. There are 2 main types of oral appliances: Tongue Retaining Appliances and Mandibular Repositioning Appliances.

Mandibular Repositioning Appliances

Mandibular repositioning appliances function by repositioning and maintain the lower jaw in a forward position while you sleep. This position maintains the airway open by pulling the tongue forward, stimulating the muscles of the tongue to make it more rigid, and preventing the mouth from falling open and back to prevent the collapse of the tissues.

We use a variety of appliances to treat our patients. Below are examples of a few of the appliances Dr. Planer can use to treat your obstructive sleep apnea. Her therapy includes, but is not limited to these provided appliances.

More on Sleep Apnea

CPAP



Oasys Appliance



Tap III Appliance



Narval Appliance



Somnodent Appliance