CPAP: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure:
This is the primary treatment option recommended to treat OSA.
How it works:
- A mask is placed over the nasal and/or mouth region
- A steady stream of air pressure keeps the upper airway open through positive pressure
- The airway pressure must be enough to prevent the airway collapse from occurring
However, many patients are not able to tolerate the CPAP mask due to claustrophobia, discomfort, headaches, inability to fall asleep or from skin irritation side effects.
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Various oral appliance devices, fitted by a dentist or other oral specialist and worn in the mouth at nighttime during sleep, are basic and commonly-used sleep apnea treatment options which are an alternative for patients who are either not willing to use, or who do not tolerate, using a CPAP mask.
There are two major types of oral devices used to treat sleep apnea:
- Tongue retaining appliances hold the tongue forward during sleep to keep the airway open and prevent breathing disruptions caused by sleep apnea;
- Mandibular repositioning appliances move the jaw forward and keep it in a more rigid position, clearing the airway by pulling the tongue forward
- Comfortable and easy to use;
- Inexpensive compared to other treatment alternatives;
- Often used along with surgery to remove the tonsils or other airway obstructions
- Can cause excessive salivation or swallowing difficulty (these side effects usually subside over time);
- Not as effective if patient does not improve lifestyle conditions such as obesity or dietary choices;
- Not effective if patients also have nasal obstruction
If you or someone you know is in need of a better night’s sleep, contact us for a no obligation consultation. We are the sleep specialists at Chevy Chase ENT located in the Virginia, Maryland, and Washington D.C. metro area dealing with sleep apnea and sleep-related problems. We can help diagnose your condition, recommend whether a sleep study would be beneficial, and offer you a variety of treatment options including CPAP, Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) and more.