If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and you have not found success with CPAP treatment, oral appliances may be a better option. Some appliances will reposition your tongue so that it does not obstruct your airway. Others will realign your jaw to help your throat muscles relax. Options include the DNA® appliance System, the TAP® device, SomnoDent® MAS, the SUADTM Device, The Moses® appliance, and myTAPTM.
One of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea is the CPAP machine, or continuous positive airway pressure. Patients using a CPAP device during sleep will breathe through a mask worn over the nose or mouth, connected to the machine through a flexible tube. The machine takes air from the room and pressurizes it, sending it to your airway passage at a level that helps prevent apneas. The constant, steady stream of air keeps your throat from relaxing and narrowing, ensuring you get enough oxygen during the night. With time and some modifications, patients often find that they can not only adjust to wearing the device, but they also sleep much better with the treatment.
In some cases, surgery may be the most effective way to treat sleep apnea. A deviated septum, enlarged adenoids, or prominent tonsils can obstruct breathing. If one of these conditions is causing your OSA, Dr. Spink can refer you to a local ear, nose, and throat specialist. He or she may recommend a surgical treatment, such as rhinoplasty, tonsillectomy, or adenoidectomy. When necessary, Dr. Spink can also refer patients to an oral surgeon.
In some cases, malocclusion, a misaligned bite, can cause your soft tissues to block your airway. Dr. Spink can realign your teeth to achieve a balanced bite and relieve sleep apnea. For example, the DNA® appliance can widen your dental arch and mid-facial bones. Crowns and bridges can also improve the balance of your bite. Dr. Spink works with area orthodontists to help patients achieve a proper bite.
Children can also develop sleep apnea. OSA can contribute to learning disabilities, bed wetting, sleep walking, and other issues. If your child exhibits the symptoms of sleep apnea, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible in order to rule out or treat OSA. Dr. Spink will conduct a complete exam to determine the most appropriate treatment. In many cases, he will collaborate with your pediatrician for more effective care.
A healthier lifestyle can help many sleep apnea patients achieve a better night's sleep, and Dr. Spink emphasizes the importance of making some changes. Lifestyle changes have a demonstrated effect on relieving OSA symptoms, and even help put some patients into complete remission. Changes in diet and exercise play a key role, as does quitting smoking, a habit that has been shown to aggravate OSA symptoms.
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