Patients Want Alternatives to CPAP
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most prevalent sleep disorders in America, affecting nearly 22 million adults. It’s caused by an obstruction that blocks your airway, completely halting your breathing several times each night while you sleep.
Typically, doctors will recommend CPAP as the first type of therapy for treating sleep apnea. While the patient sleeps, a CPAP machine provides a steady flow of air pressure through a mask that the patient wears over their face. This prevents sleep apnea episodes by keeping the airway open all night long.
Although CPAP is effective when used correctly, many patients don’t use it every night and a lot more of them stop using it altogether. But sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can lead to life-threatening consequences such as strokes and heart attacks when left untreated.
For patients who are unhappy with their CPAP machine, we offer alternative sleep apnea care that’s easier for our patients to live with. For example, our small, quiet, and convenient dental appliances will help you get a good night’s sleep every night.
Sleep Apnea Threatens Your Health
When left untreated, sleep apnea can leave you feeling exhausted throughout the day, impairing your memory and leading to major health problems. It can even increase your risk of oral health issues such as bruxism, a scalloping tongue, or temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder.
Studies link untreated sleep apnea to a number of medical issues that can have significant consequences, including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Fortunately, Dr. Sheehan features effective treatments for sleep apnea that will allow you to breathe freely throughout the night, so you’ll wake up feeling fresh and ready to go every morning.
A snore guard is a dental device that eliminates snoring by slightly repositioning your jaw. This has the effect of opening up your airway, eliminating the source of the vibration. Our custom-fitted snore guards are made just for you.
Snore guards are an easy and comfortable way to relieve snoring. You can take your snore guard anywhere and it isn’t restrictive, allowing you to sleep in any position you please.
The Link Between Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Heavy snoring is a major symptom of OSA and it’s commonly the first sign of the disorder that patients will notice. It’s often the patient’s spouse or sleep partner who will bring up the issue and encourage them to seek professional care.
Unfortunately, most of the people who suffer from OSA don’t seek treatment because they don’t realize that their snoring is a sign of a much more serious problem.
If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, Dr. Sheehan can help. She’ll make sure you get the correct diagnosis and the treatment that’s right for you.
Dr. Sheehan can arrange for you to take a sleep study, which is the best way to determine if your loud snoring and other symptoms are caused by sleep apnea.
Having Trouble With Your CPAP?
A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine is often the first treatment recommended to patients with obstructive sleep apnea. It consists of a mask that attaches to the patient’s face, blowing a steady stream of air into the airway to clear the obstruction that’s preventing the patient from breathing properly.
Although CPAP is widely considered to be the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), many patients find it difficult to use. According to an article from Harvard Health Publishing, “half or more” of patients who try CPAP will eventually stop using their machine.
Our patients often tell us that their CPAP machine is too tight on their face, the air pressure is uncomfortable to sleep with, and the machine forces the patient to sleep on their back all night long. And a CPAP machine is very noisy, often disturbing the patient or their sleep partner.
Former CPAP patients can become so discouraged that they don’t even try to seek further treatment. Would you want to sleep with bulky equipment that needs to be removed and then reattached every time you have to get up during the night? That’s why Dr. Sheehan features effective alternatives to CPAP that allow you to enjoy healthy, restful sleep every night.
An Oral Appliance– For the Relief You Need
If you’ve been using CPAP but you find yourself taking it off in the middle of the night, or if you’ve simply stopped using it, we have alternatives. For example, an oral appliance is a custom-made device that’s used to alleviate symptoms of mild-to-moderate sleep apnea.
An oral appliance looks like a sports mouthguard — you wear it while you sleep. It’s designed to perfectly fit the shape of your mouth as it gently moves your jaw forward to clear the obstruction that’s blocking the airway.
Patients really appreciate our oral appliances because they’re small, quiet, portable, and easy-to-use, providing you with outstanding comfort and convenience. More patients are discovering the benefits of oral appliances every day.
Additional Treatment Alternatives
Every patient’s sleep apnea case is unique — that’s why there isn’t one treatment that’s right for everybody. There are many factors that can impact your sleep, and simple changes to your daily routine or lifestyle can have a significant impact on your sleep apnea.
Alternative treatments to relieve your sleep apnea symptoms and improve your overall health include:
- Positional Therapy: Sleep apnea typically occurs when you’re sleeping on your back, so getting in the habit of sleeping on your side can provide substantial relief. Positional therapy is used to prevent the patient from sleeping on their back. There are devices you can wear to encourage you to sleep on your side. Some patients create their own positional therapy device by wearing a t-shirt backward and putting a tennis ball in the pocket. You can also use a pillow for support.
- Lifestyle Changes: Obesity is a major contributing factor to sleep apnea, so following a healthy diet and exercising regularly can significantly ease your symptoms. Eliminating or reducing the frequency of habits like smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol, or taking sleeping pills can also reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms.
- Throat Exercises: An OSA episode occurs due to blockage in the airway caused by excess tissue that can be present in one of the following places: your tongue, tonsils, adenoids, uvula, or soft palate. Exercises that strengthen and tone the muscles in and around your throat can help reduce the intensity of your sleep apnea symptoms.
- Surgery: In certain situations, surgery is recommended to treat sleep apnea. For example, nasal surgery can help correct a deviated septum or UPPP surgery can remove excess soft tissue in the back of your throat. Sleep apnea in children is often related to the size of their tonsils or their adenoids. In these cases, surgery may be the best way to treat the disorder.