Understanding Your Unique Situation
Sleep apnea is a serious but common disorder that affects millions of Americans. It causes you to wake up throughout the night due to a blocked airway. If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it’s essential that you receive treatment. However, everyone experiences this sleep disorder differently, so Dr. Huff will create a customized plan for you during your initial consultation.
Your Initial Consultation With Dr. Huff
If you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, the first step is visiting Dr. Huff for a consultation. He’ll refer you to a sleep study facility or offer you a take-home sleep test.
Once you receive your diagnosis, we’ll evaluate your situation further and determine which of our CPAP alternatives will fit best with your lifestyle.
In previous years, CPAP was the most common way to treat sleep apnea. This continuous positive airway pressure machine delivers a constant flow of air to your lungs to prevent blockage. It consists of a mask for your face and a tank that provides you with air.
This treatment method, however, is too loud and invasive for many patients. They find it harder to fall asleep while using it, making it ineffective. Because of this, dentists frequently recommend oral appliances to their patients as an alternative to CPAP.
This device is custom-made to fit comfortably inside your mouth while you sleep. It pushes your jaw and tongue forward to open up your airway. There are a variety of oral appliances available, so Dr. Huff will help you choose the one that’ll give you maximum results.
The Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
Treating your sleep apnea will improve not only your quality of sleep but also your life. It’ll help you get a full 7-9 hours of sleep each night, giving you more energy throughout the day. Oral appliances are compact devices that are made specifically to fit the size and shape of your jaw.
Many patients have found this CPAP alternative to be:
- Portable — its small size makes it good for traveling with
- Quiet — unlike CPAP, it doesn’t make a sound
- Easy to use — there aren’t multiple parts to deal with
- Comfortable — it’s customized to fit the exact shape of your mouth so you’ll forget it’s there
- Discreet — no one will even be able to tell you’re wearing it
If your condition is severe and you need additional treatment to manage it, Dr. Huff may suggest other methods. A popular option to add to your oral appliance therapy is a mouth and throat exercise. This will gradually strengthen the muscles so your throat stays open and your tongue stays in place while you sleep.
While you’ll first be prescribed the treatments listed above, sometimes sleep apnea can be extreme enough to require surgery or medication. These are used to remove excess tissue but are always a last resort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Even with treatment, sleep apnea is rarely cured. Sleep apnea appliances can greatly improve your life and allow you to sleep so you can feel more energetic and able to spend time on the activities you love.
Your sleep apnea symptoms can be greatly improved with treatment and lifestyle changes. Positional sleep therapy, weight loss, and avoiding sedatives can help to further alleviate your symptoms alongside appliance treatment.
While surgery can permanently change the structure of your mouth and throat, this option is only used in the most extreme cases. Surgery can have permanent side effects and appliance treatment is often effective without the need for permanent physical alteration.
Sleep apnea is always dangerous — even if you have a mild case, it can cause serious health conditions if you go without treatment. Sleep apnea can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. It’s also associated with anxiety and depression.
Treatment can help to immediately reduce your risk of health complications. Dr. Huff will work with you to develop a treatment plan that suits you and improves your symptoms. He’ll help you improve your health and well-being.
Sleep apnea won’t stop you from driving. Untreated sleep apnea does pose major risks to drivers, such as falling asleep while driving and slower reaction times. Driving drowsy can pose significant risks to yourself and other drives, according to the CDC.
With treatment, you’ll be able to concentrate on driving without feeling groggy. This will greatly reduce your risk of being involved in an automobile accident and you can drive safely.
While many new CPAP (continuous-positive airway pressure) machines are quieter than they used to be, the level of noise does bother some people. If you have trouble sleeping when there’s noise, you may have difficulty falling asleep with a CPAP.
Fortunately, sleep apnea mouthpieces are often just as effective for treatment. Best of all, they’re completely silent. If you or your partner have difficulty falling asleep with the noise of a CPAP, a mouthpiece can fix this issue.