Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, approximately 22 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Are you one of them? Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can threaten your overall health, but it could be even more of a health concern these days, as one study has shown a potential link between sleep apnea and a higher risk of severe COVID-19. You may think that, if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, that CPAP is your only treatment option. In this article, Dr. Nancy Hartrick explains your options for low maintenance sleep apnea treatment from your Detroit airway dentist.
Treating Sleep Apnea Without CPAP
CPAP (which stands for continuous positive airway pressure) is considered the go-to method for treating sleep apnea. This entails wearing a mask while you sleep that is attached to a machine, which generates a constant flow of air to help you maintain an open airway throughout the night. While effective, CPAP is not a perfect solution for everyone to address sleep apnea. Moreover, when looking long term, many patients who are prescribed CPAP eventually become non-compliant, meaning they either use their device for less than four hours per night or stop using the CPAP altogether.
At Hartrick Dentistry, we can treat sleep apnea without prescribing a CPAP. Our preferred method is oral appliance therapy. This entails wearing a specially designed nightguard while you sleep. Your nightguard will be custom made from then impressions of your teeth and mouth. When worn, the guard adjusts the alignment of your jaw, improving your breathing and helping you keep an open airway.
If you’re looking for a non-invasive method of treating your sleep apnea, then oral appliance therapy might be your best option. These devices are small, convenient, portable, and easy to clean. Unlike CPAP, this therapy method does not need electricity and does not have any moving mechanical parts that might break down.
Myofunctional therapy also can benefit patients suffering from sleep apnea. This consists of performing a series of simple exercises that work the facial muscles, the muscles of the mouth, and the tongue. Myofunctional therapy retrains these muscles, correcting a variety of possible issues affecting your orofacial system. One of the positive outcomes from a course of myofunctional therapy is encouraging a wider, more open airway. Myofunctional therapy also works to achieve the optimum rest oral posture—with the lips closed, teeth closed, and the tongue pressing comfortably against the roof of the mouth.
You can do your part to lower your risk of sleep apnea by making lifestyle changes. Get regular exercise and eat a balanced diet as part of a weight-loss regimen. You also can try shifting your sleep position if your partner complains you are snoring quite a bit when you lay certain ways. Meanwhile, if you use tobacco in any form, you should quit.
Sleep Apnea Treatment in Royal Oak
You don’t have to live with sleep apnea or its potentially serious consequences on your oral health. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Hartrick can help. Schedule a consultation online or by calling us at (248) 549-0950.
Hartrick Dentistry provides sleep apnea dentistry services to our patients in the areas of Royal Oak and Birmingham, Michigan.