7 Ways to Manage Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
There are many different treatment options available for sleep apnoea. If your private dental clinic offers sleep disorder dentistry, you can discuss with your dentist which one is best suited for your situation.
Positive Airway Pressure Devices
This is a breathing mask that covers just the nose, or the nose and mouth. During sleep, it supplies pressurised air, and this internal pressure prevents the airways from collapsing. The air can be continuous or intermittent, depending on the severity of the sleep apnoea. As an added bonus, it may treat snoring as well as sleep apnoea!
Your private dental clinic will give various options in terms of which machine is best for supplying the pressurised air to the breathing mask.
Oral appliances are worn in the mouth at night, and resemble a sports mouthguard. They push the jaw forward just far enough to prevent the tongue and muscles from collapsing or blocking the upper airways. They are surprisingly comfortable to wear! These devices are highly effective, very simple and low-tech to use, convenient to maintain and pack for travel, and can be suitable for people who can’t use positive airway pressure devices.
Nasal decongestants can be effective in cases of mild sleep apnoea, or even just snoring.
Some people only experience sleep apnoea or snoring only when they sleep lying on their back. Simply by sleeping on their side, it can be possible to reduce or even prevent upper airway obstruction. Positional therapy is also only effective in cases of mild sleep apnoea or snoring.
Surgery is often an effective treatment for snoring, although less so for sleep apnoea. This is because sleep apnoea often comes from genetic reasons to do with the shape of the upper airway structures, in a way that cannot be solved with surgery. Often, it is difficult to pinpoint which part of the upper airway is causing the airflow obstruction, and there may be multiple sites of obstruction.
Though this one won’t happen at your private dental clinic, it is also an effective way to prevent sleep apnoea in some patients. Many patients with sleep apnoea are overweight, and their excess fat leads to snoring and sleep apnoea.
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