Sleep apnea, a disorder that causes breathing to stop during sleep, is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes among many other health concerns.
Continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machines are often used to improve breathing during the night, helping to alleviate the risks of sleep apnea.
However, many patients find their CPAP machines cumbersome, and have found alternative methods of dealing with their breathing condition right here in Kelowna.
CPAP machines work by providing air at a constant rate to allow normal breathing during sleep. The air flows through a mouth or nasal device and is connected to a small machine that regulates the rate of flow. While CPAP machines are an effective way to manage sleep apnea, some people find the machines noisy, and the connecting apparatus uncomfortable to wear during the night.
CPAP alternatives include decongestant medications, lifestyle changes, surgery, and dental appliances.
Decongestant medications can improve the airflow through your nose and can be effective if this is the cause of your snoring or mild sleep apnea. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and eliminating sedative medications are an excellent first step in solving your sleep apnea problems as well. A change in sleep position can also help in some situations. Surgery may used to adjust the tissues in your mouth or nose to open the airway and prevent their collapse at night.
Dental appliances (MAS or MAD) are another highly effective way to treat your sleep apnea. These appliances are custom made and fit over your teeth. They help support the position of your jaw to maintain an open airway. The design of these appliances is critical. We want to minimize any acrylic or appliance taking up tongue room, as this will be counterproductive (can even worsen the condition in some cases). It is also critical that the appliance is fabricated in the right position. In very loose terms one can consider the airway to be like a garden hose. If that airway/hose is kinked or torqued then flow through it will be poor. It is vital therefore that treatment involves an un-kinking of the airway prior to fabricating the appliance.
Kelowna’s Dr. Mark Provencher is trained to determine the best CPAP alternative for your individual needs. With sleep apnea treatment from Dental Solutions, Kelowna residents can find effective relief for their sleep apnea problems.