Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is often considered the “gold standard” of sleep apnea treatment because it is theoretically the most effective. A pump, connected to a mask by a hose, forces air into your nose and/or mouth. This forced air pushes on your airway to hold it open. As long as you use your CPAP, your airway will stay open and you will be supplied with air.
In theory, CPAP is not only almost 100% effective when used, but it treats both types of sleep apnea. In practice, people find CPAP a cumbersome, uncomfortable treatment. Although it works, less than half of people use CPAP long-term enough to meet the compliance guidelines: at least 4 hours a night for 40% of nights.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. For most people, obstructive sleep apnea is caused by a collapse of tissue in the throat, which could include the tongue. The jaw is the primary bony support for the airway, so most oral appliances work by repositioning the jaw to hold the airway open.
The ease and comfort of an oral appliance make it much more popular. In clinical studies, about 85% of people used their oral appliance all night every night. This helps more people treat their sleep apnea and avoid potential health consequences.
The jaw doesn’t just support the airway, it helps shape it. To take advantage of this, the DNA appliance actually reshapes the jaw to make the airway more open. In some cases, this can effectively cure sleep apnea.
The muscles and bones of your neck and jaw aren’t set. They can change. Controlled change of these elements can reduce or eliminate your sleep apnea. This is the goal of myofunctional therapy.
Myofunctional therapy targets unhealthy chewing and swallowing behaviors that contribute to the formation of a narrow airway and poorly positioned jaw. It teaches you to use healthier habits. Exercises strengthen your muscles and reinforce healthy behaviors. Sometimes an oral appliance helps to encourage your healthy habits and may facilitate reshaping the jaw.
In some cases, surgery might be recommended to help with sleep apnea. Usually, this means cutting or burning away parts of your throat or mouth that contribute to airway obstruction. Other times, surgeons install a device like a pacemaker for your throat. When the muscles relax, it shocks them to keep them alert.
Surgery is usually not recommended as a treatment for sleep apnea. First, sleep apnea surgery to remove obstructions is not very effective. Even when it works, results diminish over time. In addition, people with sleep apnea are at high risk for surgical complications, so it’s best to save surgery as a treatment of last resort.
Find the Best Sleep Apnea Treatment in Columbus
Dr. Mike is dedicated to matching each of his patients with the best sleep apnea treatment for them. Find out the benefit of his personal approach. Please call (614) 683-4640 today for a free consultation with Dr. Mike at Firouzian Sleep Wellness.