Treatment options for sleep apnea

For sleep apnea patients, the most alarming symptom may be impressive snoring. Extremely loud snoring that often disrupts the sleep of others in the same household can be socially embarrassing or annoying. Although snoring can certainly be challenging and disruptive, it is critically important to separate heavy snoring from true sleep apnea.

More correctly known as obstructive sleep apnea, patients suffering from this condition will actually repeatedly stop breathing for several seconds during the sleeping hours. This interruption in breathing is caused by an airway obstruction that is usually related to the anatomy of the soft palate and throat.

For a definitive diagnosis and a review of the treatment options, a consultation with specially trained Charlottesville dentists is recommended. Obstructive sleep apnea is a life-threatening condition that should not be ignored. The most obvious symptom of this disorder is very loud snoring, but the restricted airflow can also lead to serious complications such as high blood pressure, fatigue, irregular heartbeat and stroke.

For mild sleep apnea cases, your dentists may recommend a conservative treatment such as the CPAP appliance. To counteract the limited airway opening and reduction in oxygen, the CPAP nasal appliance effectively delivers pressurized oxygen through the nose as you sleep.

When surgical treatment is necessary, the uvula, soft palate, and pharynx are recontoured (UPPP), essentially reshaping the airway. This treatment is sometimes performed with the assistance of a laser, known as LAUPP. For some patients, a radio-frequency probe may be used to tighten and tone the soft palate, another method of enlarging the airway.

For more involved cases, your oral surgeon may suggest orthognathic surgery reposition of the upper and lower jaws. For some patients, this form of therapy is necessary to effectively enlarge the airway and permit unrestricted breathing.

The effects of obstructive sleep apnea are far too serious to be ignored. Prompt attention and appropriate treatment can have a dramatic positive impact on the quality of your sleep as well as the quality of your health. To find out which treatment is best for you, plan a consultation with our office today.

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