Those affected by sleep apnea often experience a diminished quality of living due to lack of restful, restorative sleep. The condition is characterized by frequent sessions of interrupted breathing, typically for 10 seconds or longer and multiple times throughout the night.

Having sleep apnea places the individual at significant risk of experiencing negative physical consequences in addition to interpersonal and professional difficulties. Once the sleep disorder is identified and properly diagnosed, appropriate sleep apnea treatment or alternative solutions can be employed.

What Are the Options for Sleep Apnea Treatment?

Sleep apnea treatment options are recommended based on the severity of the condition and the extent of its secondary effects. Patients suffering from the disorder may undergo one or more of the following diagnostic and sleep apnea treatment options:

  • CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Machine: A method of delivering a constant stream of air through the mouth during sleep, CPAP therapy ensures an open airway, prevents soft tissue blockages and eliminates oxygen deprivation to bodily tissues.
  • Snoring Appliance: Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a special device between the teeth, keeping the lower jaw and other soft tissues pulled forward. A reduction in sleep apnea is accompanied by the elimination of snoring.
  • Mouth Guards: Constructed to fit comfortably over the upper or lower teeth, mouth guards reposition the lower jaw and tongue away from the back of the throat, reducing the risk of obstruction and therefore sleep apnea.
  • Watermark ARES™ Home Testing: Assisting in the diagnosis of sleep apnea, the Watermark ARES™ device allows for testing of the condition from the patient’s own home.
  • Lab Testing: Sleep studies conducted by specialists are often performed in special sleep labs designed to measure the degree of sleep apnea and the bodily response to oxygen deprivation.
  • Pharyngometer: A pharyngometer is a tool used to measure the diameter of the airway and airflow upon inhalation when testing for sleep apnea.
  • Rhinometer: Applied in diagnosing sleep apnea, a rhinometer allows specialists to use sound waves in assessing how air flows through nasal passages and whether any obstructions are present.

Other treatment considerations may include implementing lifestyle changes to reduce sleep apnea risk factors and treating conditions that may be contributing to the sleep disorder.

Alternative Solutions: Treating TMD Associated With Sleep Apnea

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a condition often associated with sleep apnea. In certain cases, treating such conditions may help to more effectively manage the sleep disorder and its impact on the patient. TMD treatment solutions may include:

  • Anti-Inflammatory and Sedative Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medications help relieve muscles inflamed by TMD, while sedatives reduce the anxiety and overall tension often leading to the joint condition.
  • Warm and Cold Compresses: Muscles that are painful or inflamed can often be relieved by the application of warm and cold compresses.
  • Exercises: A stretching and exercising regimen for jaw, neck and shoulder muscles can help reduce acute stiffness and tension and prevent future muscle pain and inflammation.
  • Occlusal/Nightguard Splint: Worn over the upper or lower teeth, nightguards (occlusal splints) prevent damage to tooth surfaces from clenching or grinding habits and help keep teeth in proper relation to the opposing arch.
  • Injectables: Cortisone and injectables like Botox® have yielded some success in reducing the joint and muscle inflammation associated with TMD.
  • Jaw Joint Replacement Surgery: In severe cases, joint replacement surgery may be required to restore function to a damaged or degenerated jaw joint.

TMD may precipitate the onset of sleep apnea, or develop as a result of the sleep disorder. In either case, receiving a diagnosis and treating both TMD and sleep apnea are important to preserving both oral and systemic health.

Seeking TMD and Sleep Apnea Treatment

Whether treatment protocols include oral appliance therapy, a CPAP machine, treating TMD or simply making lifestyle changes, adhering and committing to the recommendations of the specialist is vital to improving your quality of life. To learn more about diagnosing sleep apnea and TMD or receive additional information about treatment options, contact your dentist for a consultation today.

When To Replace Your Porcelain Veneers

July 9, 2020

Read More

These Symptoms May Indicate That You Have Sleep Apnea

April 3, 2019

Adequate sleep is essential for good mental and physical health, but what if you have a condition that keeps you from getting the rest you need each night? Sleep apnea is a very real and very common condition that affects more than 100 million people worldwide. Here’s what you should know about the sleep disorder […]

Read More

Signs That It Is Not Just Harmless Snoring

September 7, 2018

There are many people who snore while sleeping, and this tends to be more of a nuisance for partners than a serious medical condition. However, sometimes snoring goes beyond annoyance and tends to indicate a more serious problem. If you suspect something more than just harmless snoring, you or your significant other could be suffering […]

Read More

Dangerous Side Effects of Sleep Apnea

August 10, 2018

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that occurs when the airway is blocked while a person is sleeping. There are different types of apnea – some of which are caused by the brain simply not sending signals, and others caused by blockage of the airway from the tongue or throat closing. The good news is […]

Read More

Do You Have Sleep Apnea? Learn to Spot Common Symptoms

August 2, 2018

Sleep apnea is a serious condition with long-term health consequences, and many people who have it don’t even realize that it’s a problem. That’s because many of the symptoms of this disorder present themselves as sleep problems that go along with the stresses of modern life. A lot of patients who could benefit from treatment […]

Read More

The Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

July 17, 2018

Sleep apnea in Fishers, IN is a sneaky condition that often goes undetected by those who have it. Since many of the most obvious symptoms (including snoring and gasping for air) occur at night while the affected person is sleeping, they are easy to overlook. Chronic sleep deprivation eventually causes daytime symptoms as well, so […]

Read More

Summertime and Sleep Apnea Effects

July 6, 2018

Summer means longer days, more pollen in the air, and temperature changes that can make days up to forty degrees warmer than nights sometimes. All these factors can affect sleep disorders, especially serious ones like sleep apnea. When that happens, symptoms tend to escalate, and patients who are not currently being treated for the disorder […]

Read More

Men’s Health Month: Talk About Sleep Apnea

June 14, 2018

June is an important month for many reasons. The weather hits its sunny stride and families start heading out on vacation during the break from school. June also happens to be Men’s Health Month, and Dr. Patrick Cieplak and our staff at Cieplak Dental Excellence in La Plata, MD feel it is important to address a […]

Read More

All You Need to Know About Sleep Apnea

May 21, 2018

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that affects hundreds of thousands of individuals each year. Unfortunately, many cases remain undiagnosed and people find they are tired all day even after a full night’s sleep. At the Jacksonville Center for Prosthodontics and Implant Dentistry, we are committed to helping every patient live his or her best […]

Read More

How TMJ Affects Your Oral Health

April 10, 2018

Your temporomandibular joint serves as a sliding hinge that connects the skull to your jawbone. Disorders can develop within this joint, often referred to as TMJ, which cause chronic pain. These disorders can be the result of a physical injury or frequently grinding the teeth. Our experienced dentist, Dr. Tilman Richards, can treat this disorder […]

Read More
Dental Website Development By Progressive Dental