For patients with obstructive sleep apnea, treating their disorder becomes vitally important to help lower their risk for a variety of diseases.
In case you don’t know, obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes the tissue located in the back of the throat to collapse, blocking the airway. This creates an obstruction that prevents the brain from receiving an adequate amount of oxygen. Sensing that oxygen levels have dropped below normal, the brain shocks the body awake.
In cases of severe obstructive sleep apnea, the cycle of a patient falling asleep, having their airway cut off, and waking back up can occur dozens of times an hour. Not only does this prevent patient from receiving the deep REM sleep their bodies require, it places a lot of stress on their bodily systems.
Patients who don’t receive treatment for sleep apnea have an increased risk for developing a range of chronic illnesses that are encapsulated in the acronym HEARTS.
The diseases patients with apnea have the highest risk for developing include:
- H: Heart failure
- E: Elevated blood pressure
- A: Atrial fibrillation
- R: Resistant hypertension
- T: Type 2 diabetes
- S: Stroke
Fortunately, at McKinney Smiles, Dr. Lawrence offers patients a variety of sleep apnea treatment options that don’t include the use of a CPAP machine.
CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, machines require patients to wear bulky masks attached by a hose to a device that force feeds them air. If that sounds uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Many apnea patients would rather receive no treatment at all rather than subject themselves to wearing a CPAP.
At McKinney Smiles, we offer several sleep apnea treatment options that don’t require wearing a mask at night while asleep.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Sleep apnea causes problems when it prevents the brain from receiving the oxygen it requires. If you can keep that airway open, you effectively treat sleep apnea.
CPAP machines treat apnea by administering a steady stream of air that keeps the throat from closing. Oral appliance therapy achieves similar results using a very different method.
Oral appliances look and fit like a custom-made mouthguard. However, the top and bottom of an oral appliance are attached, either with rubber bands or some kind of locking mechanism. This design serves two purposes. It keeps the user’s mouth shut while also repositioning the bottom jaw forward. By moving the bottom jaw just slightly forward, the device creates an opening in the throat that allows air to freely flow.
Oral appliance therapy offers patients an equally successful alternative to treating their apnea with CPAP. This type of therapy is incredibly popular for patients who can’t or won’t sleep wearing a CPAP mask.
NightLase laser snore therapy offers a safe, non-invasive, and patient-friendly laser treatment option that can greatly improve, and possibly eliminate, snoring.
NightLase® therapy utilizes patented LightWalker laser technology that provides Dr. Lawrence with the ability to moderate the length of each laser pulse emitted by the machine. This allows for the safe penetration of heat into the oral tissue. The light emitted by the NightLase® system is gentle enough for use on oral tissue, but strong enough to provide clinically effective heating that strengthens oral tissue.
NightLase® offers a high success rate in producing a positive change in sleep patterns. Research has shown that NightLase® successfully reduces and alleviates snoring and provides an effective, non-invasive way to treat sleep apnea.
VIVOS is a state-of-the-art technique that works to treat sleep apnea and TMJ disorders. Similar to how an oral appliance functions, VIVOS actually uses DNA therapy to reposition and permanently alter a patient’s jaw structure. This technique can be used to keep an airway open during sleep or to fix jaw joint issues that result in the development of TMJ.
Don’t let sleep apnea steal one more night’s rest. Contact Dr. Lawrence today to schedule your sleep apnea consultation, and take the first step towards getting a goodnight’s sleep.