For the 60 million Americans who suffer from some type of sleep disorder, daytime activities can be a struggle, especially for those with obstructive sleep apnea. Traditionally, sleep apnea is combatted by wearing a CPAP machine at night, which prevents upper airway collapse by forcing air through the nose and mouth. Many sleep apnea patients cannot tolerate the machine because of its size or noise and will end up knocking it off in heir sleep. But don’t worry! There are plenty of other treatments for sleep apnea that may be more to your liking, such as:
1. Dental or Oral Appliances:
These appliances are worn in the mouth while sleeping to help expand the back of the throat. Some devices hold the lower jaw forward during sleep, while other appliances directly affect tongue position. In order to reduce teeth shifting, your sleep specialist may offer custom-fitted appliances, allowing the guard to work with your specific bite.
2. The Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation Procedure:
The procedure includes the placement of a nerve-stimulating implant that patients control with a remote in order to stimulate key muscles and prevent upper airway collapse. This is a 20 minute surgery, which is performed while the patient is under local anesthesia.
3. The Pillar Procedure:
This procedure addresses the most common source of snoring – the soft palate and can be performed under local anesthesia by numbing the throat. 3-5 small, polyester “pillar” implants (2 mm diameter) are placed inside the soft palate to cause scarring to stiffen the palate. This reduces the tissue vibration that can cause snoring and palatal tissue collapse.
This is a procedure in which an enlarged or elongated uvula is reshaped. This minor procedure is done under local anesthesia by numbing the uvula, then surgically reshaping it to lessen vibrations. Studies have shown that the reshaping of the uvula can result in a decrease or elimination of snoring and reduction of gasping from mild sleep apnea.
Before seeing a specialist, you can try limiting your alcoholic beverages before bed or sleeping on your side. Developing better sleep habits may also combat mild sleep apnea. These methods can help manage sleep apnea symptoms temporarily but, if left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a number of other health problems.
At the Pasha Snoring and Sinus Center, our patients diagnosed with sleep apnea are offered all of these options as treatment, rather than the traditional CPAP machine. We make careful observations and take personal preferences into account when choosing the treatment plan that’s right for you. If you’re ready to treat your sleep apnea, make an appointment today.