What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a disorder involving the repeated starting and stopping of breathing while one is sleeping. The condition is not uncommon in the United States, and it has potential to be very serious. Complications can include high blood pressure, heart problems, and type 2 diabetes, among other possible health issues.

There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Milder cases of sleep apnea can often be treated with changes to the patient’s lifestyle, but doctors may recommend further treatment for more moderate to severe cases.

What Are the Options for Sleep Apnea Treatment?

The most common form of treatment is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This involves wearing a mask while sleeping that is attached to a machine which delivers air pressure to keep the patient’s upper airway passage open. This will prevent apnea and snoring. The issue with this form of treatment is that the CPAP machine is uncomfortable for many, and several patients stop using it.

An alternative to CPAP is Oral Appliance Therapy. This form of sleep apnea treatment involves the patient wearing custom-made mouthpieces (oral appliances) at night. The mouthpieces keep the patient’s lower jaw shifted slightly forward which helps to prevent blockage of the airway by allowing more room for the soft tissues of the throat.

Individuals with sleep apnea that are searching for treatment and do not want to turn to a CPAP machine are encouraged to consult a local doctor or cosmetic dentist to learn more about Oral Appliance Therapy. Individuals in the greater Hickory, NC area can receive Oral Appliance Therapy to treat sleep apnea by reaching out to the office of Dr. John Fish, DDS today.