Royal Oak and Birmingham, MI
One question many people ask their doctors or wonder is if their sleep apnea is curable. The answer depends on understanding the difference between a cure and treatment. A cure means that the condition is treated so that it no longer produces symptoms. Therefore, it means that the patient can cease any medical interventions related to their condition. If sleep apnea is cured, then the patient no longer requires treatment. In many cases, sleep apnea treatment is ongoing to curb or manage its symptoms. Today on the blog, airway dentist in Detroit, Dr. Nancy Hartrick, shares viable treatment options and possible sleep apnea cures. Plus, find out what to do if you’ve received a sleep apnea diagnosis.
What is sleep apnea?
Before diving into treatments and cures, it’s essential to understand sleep apnea. It is one of the most common airway disorders that impedes breathing while asleep. It can inflict patients of any age and gender. Specifically, overweight individuals are at a higher risk of sleep apnea, although young, healthy people (even athletes) may develop this sleep breathing disorder.
Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes partially or fully blocked, restricting airflow. Its hallmark symptom is snoring, although some sleep apnea sufferers may not snore. People with sleep apnea likely experience chronic daytime fatigue, unexplained mood swings, and loss of libido, among other symptoms. Weight gain or difficulty losing weight are also complaints of sleep apnea sufferers.
Sleep Apnea Cures
In many cases, sleep apnea is present in overweight individuals. Therefore, losing weight could potentially cure one’s sleep apnea. However, as we previously mentioned, even healthy athletes can have sleep apnea. Sometimes, it’s the soft tissue in the airway that is causing the blockage, in which surgery to remove the excess tissue may be the only option to cure sleep apnea. However, these options aren’t always easy to do, especially if you’ve got a significant amount of weight to lose or you just can’t afford to be down that long for surgery. Therefore, it’s essential to manage your sleep apnea properly until symptoms subside without the need for intervention.
Treatments for Sleep Apnea
For years, the gold standard treatment for sleep apnea was the CPAP machine. The continuous positive airway pressure machine operates by wearing a mask over the nose and mouth to receive forced air from the machine while you sleep. Unfortunately, studies reveal that as many as one-third or half of CPAP patients discontinue using their device, mostly because the device is cumbersome and the mask is reportedly uncomfortable to wear. Where does that leave many sleep apnea patients? At risk of comorbidities, such as cardiovascular disease (39%), obesity (34%), depression (19%), according to one study.
Thankfully, there is an easier, more convenient way to manage sleep apnea in Detroit. Oral appliance therapy also referred to as mandibular advancement splints (MAS), has emerged as a leading-edge treatment for sleep apnea. It is made from custom impressions of the patient’s mouth, which means a precise fit. It is comfortable to wear, requires no cords, is easy to take with you when traveling, and many insurance companies cover a portion of the treatment cost due to the rising evidence that OAT works as well, if not better than CPAP machines. This study took place over the span of five years and found that MAS treatment was equally effective at managing sleep apnea and reducing the patient’s risk of fatal cardiovascular events when compared to using a CPAP machine.
Is oral appliance therapy the best sleep apnea treatment option for me?
OAT/MAS has proven effective at treating mild to moderate sleep apnea cases. However, in severe cases or patients that are morbidly obese, alternative treatment options may be better suited. The best way to know which option is best for you is to schedule a consultation with a sleep apnea doctor in Detroit near you. Dr. Hartrick is a neuromuscular dentist who helps patients undergo an official sleep study to determine if they have an airway disorder. Then, she can recommend the best treatment for you.
Sleep Apnea Dentists in Detroit, Royal Oak, and Birmingham
If you’d like to learn more about sleep apnea treatment in Detroit or need to schedule an appointment with a sleep apnea doctor in Royal Oak, contact Hartrick Dentistry today at (248) 549-0950. Dr. Hartrick has received post-graduate training in neuromuscular dentistry, which focuses on airway management and proper jaw alignment. Many of her patients find relief in OSA treatment for sleep apnea.