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Is CPAP the only treatment option for sleep apnea?

Is CPAP the only treatment option for sleep apnea?

Typically, the best treatment for severe obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (C.P.A.P.).  However, if you suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea there are a few other treatment options to consider. Here, our Surrey dentist explains more. 

If you suffer from substantial or sever sleep apnea, CPAP is typically the first and most effective treatment choice.

However, if you are suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea there are a number of other treatment options that may help you to get a good night's sleep.

Lifestyle Changes

To help treat or prevent the symptoms of mild sleep apnea there are a number of lifestyle changes that you can try. These changes could significantly improve your quality of sleep.

Simple lifestyle changes may not work for everyone, or may only offer temporary relief, but they may be worth trying in order to help relieve your sleep apnea symptoms.

Lose Weight

Weight loss can be a good first step in relieving sleep apnea symptoms. Some studies have shown that patients who lose 10% of their body weight can experience as much as a 30% decrease in their sleep apnea symptoms.

This is likely because people who are overweight often have extra tissue around their necks. This tissue can block their airway while they are sleeping.

Losing weight helps to shrink the tissue around the airway, and allow more air to pass through to the lungs.

Avoid Alcohol and Sedatives

Alcohol and sedatives can cause your throat muscles to become too relaxed, potentially allowing your airway to become restricted.

Avoiding alcohol and sedatives may help to prevent your airway from becoming blocked. 

Avoid Sleeping On Your Back

Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who sleep on their backs.

When you sleep on your back gravity is able to pull on the tissues at the back of your throat, causing your airway to narrow or possibly even collapse completely.

If you suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea, it's a good idea to train yourself to sleep on your side instead. A couple of ways to do this are by propping pillows up against your back to prevent you from rolling over, or by placing a tennis ball into your back pyjama pocket. 

Dental Appliances

Dental appliances that are used to treat sleep apnea fit over your teeth. You wear them whenever you go to sleep.

These dental appliances work by holding your tongue and jaw forward so that they don't slip backwards and block your airway. 

Two types of dental appliances are available for treating obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Fixed dental appliances fit over your teeth. They can not be adjusted.
  • Adjustable dental appliances can be fitted to best suit the size and shape of your mouth.
It’s important that your dental appliance be comfortable enough to wear every night. Speak to your dentist to find out more about dental appliances to treat sleep apnea.

If you think that you may be suffering from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or if you think that a dental appliance might help you to get a good night's sleep, contact us at Clover Hills Dental to arrange a consultation with our Surrey dentist.

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