How to Treat Sleep Apnea 

How important do you think it is to breathe well while you sleep? 

Though the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may seem like just a nuisance (especially for your bedmate), loud snoring and interrupted breathing can actually affect your health in several unsavory ways. As your body struggles to receive the oxygen it so vitally needs night after night, you may find yourself experiencing any number of the following health effects:

  • Interrupted sleep
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Morning headaches, dry mouth, or throat pain
  • Lack of focus and mental clarity
  • Memory problems
  • Moodiness or irritability 
  • Acid reflux
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood sugar
  • Weakened immunity
  • Decreased sexual desire and function

When left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to, or exacerbate, a number of long-term health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), stroke, fatty liver disease, depression, type 2 diabetes, traffic and machinery accidents, and higher mortality risk. 

CPAP Pros and Cons

An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with as many as 80% of moderate and severe cases left undiagnosed—and therefore untreated. Though there are many reasons for underdiagnosis, such as lack of health care or simple unawareness, many patients also dread the possibility of having to wear the Darth Vadar-like mask of the Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) machine. 

Darth Vadar quips aside, a CPAP machine is a popular and effective sleep apnea treatment in Marlton option. Delivering pressurized air through a mask connected to a hose, a CPAP machine prevents your airway from collapsing by increasing the air pressure in your throat, ensuring that you get the oxygen you need while sleeping. With consistent use, a CPAP can reduce daytime sleepiness, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and reduce other troublesome OSA symptoms.

But in order to be effective and reduce health risks, the CPAP mask must be worn all night, every night, which can restrict sleep mobility and make it difficult to find a comfortable position to fall and stay asleep. And, in addition to being noisy while operating, a CPAP machine can also cause eye and skin irritation, nasal congestion, dry nose, a sore throat, and abdominal bloating. And for those who travel or camp frequently, a CPAP may be an inconvenient and cumbersome addition to luggage or off-the-grid sleeping arrangements.  

Sleep Apnea Treatment Without CPAP

Many patients seeking sleep apnea treatment in Marlton feel caught between wanting to treat the condition and not wanting to sleep with a CPAP machine for the rest of their lives. Though some patients may receive the most benefit from a CPAP machine alone or combined with a dental appliance, many patients can successfully treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.

Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance gently shifts your tongue and lower jaw (mandible) forward to help keep your upper airway unobstructed and open. An oral appliance is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and is worn just like a custom-made orthodontic retainer or sport mouth guard. Patients love the simplicity of oral appliance therapy, which is comfortable, portable, low maintenance, silent, easy to wear, and unobtrusive for the wearer and sleeping partner alike.   

How to Get An Oral Appliance for Snoring and Sleep Apnea in Marlton

Treating sleep apnea with an oral appliance is a team effort between a qualified dentist, like Dr. Van Istendal, and your primary care physician. To determine if you have sleep apnea, Dr. Van Istendal will evaluate your mouth, airway, and overall health. In addition to ordering a sleep study, Dr. Van Istendal will take digital impressions of your mouth, measure your mouth and throat, and evaluate your health history and symptoms. Dr. Van Istendal will then share his findings with you and your primary care doctor to coordinate your diagnosis. Through this multidisciplinary approach, you’ll get answers on the best course of treatment for your unique symptoms, situation, and health needs.    

If you and your doctors decide that oral appliance therapy is your best option for snoring and sleep apnea treatment, you’ll receive a prescription for your custom-fit oral appliance, which is often covered by your medical insurance. To make your custom appliance, Dr. Van Istendal will take detailed impressions and measurements of your mouth and teeth and send your data to a specialized lab for fabrication. Once your custom oral appliance is made, the Acorn Dental team will teach you how to insert, remove, and care for your one-of-a-kind appliance. In approximately three months, Dr. Van Istendal will order a follow-up sleep study to evaluate the success of your oral appliance and make any necessary adjustments for your continued ease of use and comfort.   

Your best self and optimum health are dependent on high-quality sleep and functional breathing.  If you’re missing out on a great night’s sleep and normal breathing due to snoring or sleep apnea, Dr. Van Istendal can help you find a sleep apnea treatment in Marlton solution. Schedule your appointment today and reclaim the higher quality of life that comes from better sleeping and breathing.