Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
CPAP machines help to manage the symptoms for some sleep apnea patients however this is not a device, which can correct the root cause of the problem. Some individuals find the CPAP machines difficult to use, an interruption to their comfort and annoying to wear. Therefore, many do not receive the full benefits of the device nor they do not use it on a daily basis.
Dental Treatments for Sleep Apnea
Oral Appliance Therapies present useful alternatives to continuous positive airway pressure devices (CPAPs), especially for patients with simple snoring and patients with obstructive sleep apnea that cannot tolerate CPAP therapy. There are three functional classifications of oral appliances: mandibular repositioning appliances, tongue-retaining appliances and combination oral appliance with CPAP.
Mandibular advancement device
A Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) is an oral appliance that treats snoring and sleep apnea by moving the lower jaw forward slightly, which tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway to prevent obstruction of the airway during sleep. The tightening created by the device also prevents the tissues of the upper airway from vibrating as air passes over them – the most common cause of loud snoring.
Tongue retaining device
A tongue-retaining device (TRD) is similar to the mandibular advancement device. It treats sleep apnea by holding the tongue near the front of the mouth, preventing backward movement that causes the throat to become blocked. Due to its similar construction to mouth or night guards, it is beneficial for those who grind their teeth.
Corrective Solutions for Sleep Apnea
Surgery could be an appropriate option under certain circumstances. These circumstances include a patient trying and failing CPAP, weight loss, alcohol management and a trial of an oral appliance/MAD device. There are several types of surgical procedures. They are categorized by the following:
- Intra- vs. Extra-pharyngeal procedures
- Soft tissue vs. Hard tissue procedures
- Snoring vs. OSA procedures
- Minimally-invasive vs. Invasive procedures
- Site-specific vs. Diffuse Airway therapy
- Anatomic-based classifications
The DNA (Daytime Nighttime Appliance) device is the latest non-surgical device used to address the underlying or root cause of sleep apnea. The DNA appliance is a sleep apnea treatment alternative. It works by naturally remodeling a patient’s airway. By widening the arch, it alters the shape of the oral cavity, improving a person’s ability to breath. It provides a permanent sleep apnea treatment, allowing many patients to be CPAP free. Added benefits of the DNA system are the straightening of teeth and creating more balanced facial features.