As anyone who suffers from sleep apnea can attest, it is a condition which often proves disruptive and uncomfortable and if left unaddressed, it can actually become quite dangerous.
Health complications of sleep apnea
Consequences of chronic sleep apnea for those diagnosed with the condition can include:
- increased risk of cardiac disease
- weight gain
- memory impairment
- severe fatigue
- sudden cardiac death
For these reasons, increased focus is being trained on finding sleep apnea treatments which not only work to halt the potentially dire consequences of repeated interruptions of one’s breathing during sleep, but on those which can be tolerated over the long term.
Widespread problem exacerbated by failed treatments
Though it is estimated that over 18 million individuals across the country are directly affected by sleep apnea, studies suggest that approximately half of those who seek treatment for the condition ultimately abandon the most common method of addressing the issue within a mere three months. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines tend to be the default mode of treatment for sleep apnea patients, but they bring with them a host of problems which cause many to discontinue their use and forfeit any potential benefits.
Because these masks must be worn over the nose and mouth, many patients report that they are extremely uncomfortable and force them into sleeping positions they find unsustainable. Problems with dehydration and a feeling of claustrophobia are also included among commonly cited reasons patients stop using the therapy. Many patients report pulling their masks off while asleep without being consciously aware of having done so. As healthcare professionals have become increasingly aware of the high abandonment rate for CPAP masks, they have turned their attention to finding options better suited to individual patient preferences.
Sleep apnea treatment options expand
Surgical interventions designed to change the anatomy of a patient’s epiglottis and open the nasal passageways have showed promise for many, as has the use of nasal plugs meant to help maintain positive airway pressure and stop obstructions from forming. Positional sleep aids intended to prevent sleep apnea patients from sleeping on their backs, something known to increase the risk of breathing interruptions in some, have also gained popularity in recent years. Innovations in CPAP machines have also been made, resulting in much quieter, lighter weight machines which boast integrated heaters and humidifiers to increase comfort and wearability.
Customized, noninvasive treatment for sleep apnea
Sleep apnea patients who are simply unable to tolerate wearing a CPAP mask during sleep or who have been unresponsive to alternative techniques may be wondering whether anything can help them get proper rest and reduce the risk of serious health consequences. Fortunately, oral appliance therapy holds tremendous promise and provides the comfort, convenience and affordability many seek. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, oral appliance treatments using customized mouthguards while asleep offers notable benefits to roughly two-thirds of those diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy – an effective alternative
NYC dentist Dr. David Blaustein possesses more than two decades of experience assisting sleep apnea patients through oral appliance therapy and can provide sufferers with a custom-fit mouthpiece which can significantly reduce and perhaps eliminate the airflow issues preventing them from getting the restful, restorative sleep they need.
If sleep apnea has created ongoing problems in your life and the life of your sleep partner, there is no reason to delay identification of a lasting solution. For a personal consultation in our Manhattan cosmetic dentistry office, contact Dr. Blaustein at Chelsea Dental Aesthetics by calling 347-618-6544.