how to treat sleep apnea

How to Treat Sleep Apnea

how to treat sleep apneaServing Brentwood, Belle Meade and Green Hills Areas of Nashville TN

Have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea? Are you exhibiting some of the warning signs of this dangerous sleep breathing disorder? If so, the Nashville sleep apnea dentists at Devine Dentistry can recommend the appropriate treatment to resolve this unique and challenging medical condition.

What is obstructive sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious sleep breathing disorder. It occurs due to a blockage that develops in the airway, usually due to a collapse of soft tissue. These blockages can be partial or complete, and they occur when you lay down to sleep, which often results in loud snoring or gasping for air. Each time one of these blockages takes place, the cessation of the flow of oxygen make your body and brain respond as if you are choking, thus jolting you out of sleep and disrupting the sleep cycle. A person with an advanced, untreated case of sleep apnea may experience these disrupted sleep cycles hundreds of times per night.

Many individuals believe there is only one method of treating sleep apnea—through the use of a CPAP machine, which involves wearing a mask during sleep, that forces air into the airway. However, a sleep apnea dentist such as Dr. Brian Devine, DDS or Russell Mack, DDS, at Devine Dentistry can treat sleep apnea and its corollary issues by a less invasive, and more comfortable means – oral appliance therapy.

Diagnosing sleep apnea

Sleep apnea can be a difficult disorder to identify correctly. For example, in children and adolescents, the symptoms of sleep apnea often can mimic those of a hyperactivity disorder such as ADD or ADHD.

Sleep apnea dentistry, a specialization of dental science, focuses on identifying and treating sleep apnea and other sleep breathing disorders by addressing the root of the problem—the blockage in the airway. Your Green Hills sleep apnea dentist at Devine Dentistry can perform an airway evaluation to identify if a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea exists. This is a simple, pain-free examination where a sleep apnea dentist investigates the airway to determine if it is susceptible to a blockage.

Before any treatment begins, your sleep apnea dentist should compose a treatment plan that considers the following factors:

  • The degree of severity of your case of sleep apnea
  • Any other oral health problems that may complicate treatment
  • Your medical history, including any other pre-existing conditions

Why we do not use CPAP

If you have heard about sleep apnea or researched the disorder, you probably know about CPAP treatment. Standing for continuous positive airway pressure, CPAP is a machine that, through the use of a mask that is worn during sleep, helps a person maintain an open airway.

While CPAP is arguably the most popular treatment method for sleep apnea and it is very effective in theory, the real-life application of this treatment method often causes problems. In fact, for many people, CPAP is tolerated so poorly that patients with difficulty either cannot or refuse to use it properly. Thus, their sleep apnea is not fully treated.

Frequently reported problems with CPAP include the following:

  • Discomfort
  • Skin irritation and rashes caused by wearing the mask
  • Dry mouth and/or throat
  • Trouble sleeping, either for the patient or their sleeping partner, because of the noise made by the CPAP machine
  • Interferes with intimacy
  • Feelings of embarrassment or self-consciousness
  • Highly cumbersome while traveling
  • Inconvenient to maintain

Many sleep apnea patients think that CPAP is the only method of treatment available to them and, consequently, may shy away from treatment altogether. This is the worst decision possible for a sleep apnea patient. Professional medical treatment is the only way to resolve this serious sleep breathing disorder and, in fact, not receiving treatment will only make a case of sleep apnea worse, also increasing the risk of developing several chronic and life-threatening health ailments including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression.

Oral appliance therapy

At Devine Dentistry, your local Belle Meade sleep apnea dentist opts to use oral appliances to treat sleep apnea. These oral appliances are mandibular advancement appliances that keep the lower jaw in its ideal forward resting position, encouraging your airway to remain open throughout the night. Oral appliance therapy treats sleep apnea by treating the cause of the disorder—your blocked airway.

Custom-made vs. Store bought oral appliances

Our oral appliances for sleep apnea are of a much higher quality than the mouthguards and anti-snoring mouthpieces that are available for purchase over the counter. Each of our oral appliances is a custom-made medical device constructed from impressions of your mouth, thus guaranteeing a snug and effective fit. The materials used to fabricate our oral appliances also are superior to those used to make store-bought mouthpieces.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Nashville

Find out more about sleep apnea by looking at these frequently asked questions about the sleep breathing disorder, or how sleep loss can affect your life. If you have sleep apnea or think you may be suffering from this disorder, contact the office of Devine Dentistry today to schedule an airway evaluation by calling (615) 269-4209.

Devine Dentistry is here to serve patients living in the areas of Belle Meade, Green Hills, and Nashville, treat s