Understanding the Different Treatments for Sleep Apnea

Understanding the Different Treatments for Sleep Apnea

If you need evidence of overall health in the US, look no further than the number of people living with sleep apnea, which is a common sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing while a person is asleep. Though it primarily affects older adults, no one is completely immune.

The compassionate dental providers at Expressions In Dentistry know how difficult it is to live with sleep apnea and how it can affect your everyday life. Treating sleep apnea patients in and around Folsom, California, is routine for our oral care specialists. It’s important to learn about sleep apnea and to recognize the signs. 

How do I know that I have sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea affects an estimated one billion adults around the world, including almost 10% of the US adult population. There are several types of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA; central sleep apnea, or CNA; and mixed sleep apnea. 

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea, accounting for roughly 85% of sleep apnea cases. As you sleep, your tongue, the soft palate at the top of the throat, and your throat are responsible for keeping your airways open, allowing you to breathe comfortably enough to sleep. OSA occurs when these muscles in the throat relax while you’re sleeping, stopping oxygen from entering the lungs. 

Central sleep apnea works similarly to autoimmune diseases, with your brain working against your body’s needs. CSA occurs when there is a lapse in communication between the brain and respiratory system. Without the signal from your brain, your respiratory system fails to work, blocking your airways and preventing breathing. 

Mixed sleep apnea is the rarest type of sleep apnea, but is a great concern. When your respiratory muscles relax, and your nervous system doesn’t deliver the message for the muscles to stabilize, your ability to breathe during sleep is compromised. 

People who are living with obesity are at elevated risk of developing sleep apnea. This chronic condition is a factor in an estimated 60% of all sleep apnea cases, and men, particularly senior men, are about four times more likely to develop sleep apnea than are women. People who are living with obesity are about seven times more likely to develop sleep apnea.

What are the treatments for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea has traditionally been treated via CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure. This device involves using a mask to force air into your mouth and, ultimately, into your airways. However, use of this device can be complicated if you don’t typically fall asleep on your back, requiring you to elevate your head and shoulders as you sleep. 

Fortunately, new technology has developed to treat sleep apnea, and medical professionals around the world continue to seek new innovations to provide healthy, comfortable sleep. The providers at Expressions in Dentistry are pleased to offer two high-quality options to treat your sleep apnea without further interruption to your life: 

Vivos®

Vivos is a long-term, multi-faceted approach to treating OSA that doesn’t require the inconvenience of a CPAP machine. Vivos starts with a removable mouthpiece that you wear to bed for up to two years. This mouthpiece shapes and strengthens the problem muscles in your mouth and throat, alleviating your symptoms as you heal. 

Mandibular advancement device

Treating sleep apnea can start with treating a jaw that is recessed, or underdeveloped. This mouthpiece is customized to the size and shape of your mouth, and it pushes your jaw forward to stretch collapsed tissues, enabling you to breathe comfortably. The length of time you will need to effectively use this device is determined by your provider.

What will happen if I don’t get treatment?

Sleep apnea elevates your risk of developing three life-altering chronic conditions: hypertension, cardiovascular disease — including heart attacks — and diabetes. Diabetes and hypertension are already a threat to people living with obesity, and sleep apnea can have devastating consequences. 

Help! I can’t breathe while sleeping! 

We’re happy that you’re seeking help for this medical condition. No one asks to live with sleep apnea, and treatment is accessible. Contact us today at 916-252-9186, or book an appointment with us online. 

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