For those who suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, there are a few good options for treatment. Unfortunately, rarely can sleep apnea be “cured”. Therefore, it needs to be treated, usually with lifelong treatment.
Treatment options include, CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, Oral Appliances, Surgery, and in some cases, positional therapy.
CPAP is the most effective treatment for sleep apnea. In most cases, patients who use their CPAP machines regularly remain effectively treated and feel relief from their Sleep Apnea symptoms.
Unfortunately, less than half of people who are prescribed CPAP therapy still use their CPAP after one year.
- Effectively treats Sleep Apnea, when used properly
- Advances in CPAP technology makes them easier to use
- Cumbersome, and hard to pack for travel
- You need an electricity source
- Straps, mask, and hose may be uncomfortable
- Noise can bother bed partner
- Can be hard to clean
For those patients who are intolerant to CPAP therapy, Oral Appliance Therapy can be an effective treatment for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea. An Oral Appliance fits on the upper and lower teeth, similar to a night guard. When the two pieces are worn together, the lower jaw is held in a slightly forward and open position. This position effectively opens the airway, and snoring and sleep apnea are greatly reduced or eliminated altogether.
- Small, compact, and easy to pack for travel
- Very discreet
- Completely adjustable
- No electrical source needed, so good choice for active outdoor enthusiasts
- Effective for most people
- Easy to use and clean
- Passive, so air is not being forced into your lungs.
- Requires follow up visits until comfort is attained
- Requires 6 month, then yearly followups
- Requires healthy teeth
- Can cause tooth movement or bite changes over time if not monitored
A third treatment option, surgery, can be effective for select patients. Advantages can include alleviating the need for any apparatus such as Oral Appliance or CPAP. Disadvantages include
tolerating a surgical recovery, and the possibility of relapse over time.
Dr. Erickson will consult with you and determine which option may be best for you. If Oral Appliance is chosen, he will determine if you are a candidate and then get the process started!