There are several different options for treatment of sleep apnea, depending upon the severity of the apnea, the cause of the apnea, and the patient’s preferred mode of treatment.
Surgery to reduce the size of the tongue or uvula and soft palate is an option, but an invasive one. Tonsil or adenoid removal when warranted is another surgical choice, but again quite invasive and painful for adults.
A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) forces oxygen into the patient’s nose and mouth while he or she sleeps. This is the recommended treatment for severe sleep apnea. While highly effective, the machines tend to be quite uncomfortable and patient compliance after one year is less than 70%.
Dental appliances are a much less invasive option. Customized night guards, which keep the lower jaw open and slightly forward are effective in maintaining an open airway and keeping the tongue from blocking the back of the throat while sleeping. Patients have found these appliances to be more comfortable than the alternative treatments, resulting in high compliance. In one study, it was shown that mouth appliances were actually more effective than surgical therapies.
Once a sleep study has been conducted and evaluated, we can discuss your diagnosis and help to decide what treatment option is best for you. Many patients who have failed to continue the use of their CPAP opt to have a mouth appliance fabricated. Often times, people that use a CPAP regularly prefer to use a mouth appliance in conjunction; or other times when a CPAP is inconvenient.
A TAP/PAP appliance is an option for patients who have severe sleep apnea and find the CPAP equipment cumbersome, irritating and/or painful. Patients find TAP/PAP more comfortable, easier to use and less irritating than the regular CPAP therapy. The head strap is eliminated in TAP/PAP as well, and the pressure applied to your jaw is also eliminated. Thus making the TAP/PAP option a better choice for sleep apnea sufferers who also have TMJ dysfunction.
The SomnoMed MAS® – Dorsal Fin Appliance
This is a custom-made device which consists of upper and lower dental plates that have a unique patented fin-coupling component, which allows normal mouth opening and closing.
Elastic Mandibular Advancement Appliance (EMA)
The Myerson® EMA custom appliance is an oral appliance created for noninvasive treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The primary treatment mechanism is to open the bite and gently move the mandible forward. This is achieved using interchangeable elastic straps which offer varying degrees of mandibular advancement.
Respire – Dorsal Fin Appliance
The Respire Blue Series is a custom made oral sleep device. It is composed of an upper and a lower component, which are not connected in any way, allowing the jaw to open and close naturally. The dorsal fin holds the jaw in a forward position preventing it from falling back and the airway collapsing. The Respire also has an anterior opening which allows the patient to breathe through their mouth, in turn providing extra patient comfort.
For patients with moderate or mild sleep apnea, dental devices are often the preferred treatment option. Here are some of the advantages they have over CPAP machines and surgical procedures:
• More affordable – According to the American Sleep Association (ASA), CPAP machines can cost as much as $3,000. The average is $850. Dental appliances are much more affordable, especially with insurance.
• Less invasive – There’s no surgery required for sleep apnea appliances.
• More comfortable – The majority of patients report that dental appliances are more comfortable than CPAP machines. Surgery also causes discomfort.
• Easier to use consistently – Since they’re more comfortable, sleep apnea appliances have high compliance.
• More effective – Some studies show that dental appliances are more effective than surgical therapies.
Contact or call our office today to explore the best option for you and your snoring or sleep apnea. Call us today and get better sleep!