ORAL DEVICE TREATMENT
For snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
Clearly, the largest number of patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea are in the mild to moderate categories and should be treated with oral appliances. Even severe cases respond favorably. Despite the fact that treatment with the CPAP unit is successful, most patients cannot or choose not to wear the face mask with the attached air compressor. These patients are excellent candidates for oral appliances. The most recent data shows that using an oral device is superior to not using a CPAP or only using a CPAP a couple hours a night. These patients prefer a non-surgical, non-invasive plastic intra-oral appliance that is only worn at night to help solve their problem.
Sleep apnea is a type of breathing disorder which is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. There are basically three types of apnea:
It should be noted that since 1987 all medical devices, including oral appliances for the treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, are required to have marketing clearance from the FDA.These oral devices are covered by most major medical insurance and PPO plans, Kaiser, Medicare and Tricare. We are also preferred providers for the above.
Types of Appliances
CONTINUOUS POSITIVE AIRWAY PRESSURE (CPAP)
The patients who should use CPAP are the severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea as the device may indeed be a life saver. In cases of mild to moderate OSA, or in cases where patients refuse to wear the CPAP, oral appliances may be the treatment of choice.
The current gold standard utilized by the medical profession for the treatment of OSA is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). The patient wears a tightly fitting nose mask which is strapped to the head and connected by a hose to an air compressor pump. The air is forced into the airway through the nasal passages in order to open up the airway.
Complaints about the use of this air blower include pump noise, voice changes, skin irritations from the mask, nose and throat dryness, headaches from the strap around the head, tinnitus, difficulty getting to sleep, sinus infections, and difficulty breathing out against the air being forced through the nose.
MOST COMMON SURGICAL TECHNIQUES
The disadvantage is that these surgeries can be quite painful during the healing period. Following the surgery, patients report voice changes and difficulty in swallowing their food.Patients should be informed of all their options prior to any treatment whether surgical or non-surgical.