A variety of treatments are available for obstructive sleep apnea. Here are some of the most common and successful:
Oral Appliance Therapy
Most patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are in the mild to moderate categories, and can be treated with oral appliances. This is also the preferred method of treatment for patients who have severe sleep apnea but cannot tolerate the CPAP device. For patients who either do not want surgery, or who have had an unsuccessful procedure in the past, a noninvasive, plastic, intraoral appliance that can be worn at night is a good alternative.
Three types of appliances include a Soft Palatal Lift Appliance, a Tongue Retaining Device, and a Mandibular Repositioner. Within these categories, Dr. Rondeau specializes in the following appliances:
- Snore Free
This is a relatively inexpensive, temporary appliance that can serve as a diagnostic tool or as a backup in case the patient loses or breaks their permanent appliance. The Snore Free appliance is constructed while the patient is in the chair.
- Silent Nite
This is an extremely comfortable appliance that consists of two plastic parts, one each for the upper and lower teeth, that are joined together with a plastic plunger.
- Modified Herbst
This highly effective, removable appliance consists of upper and lower acrylic components held together by a plunger mechanism that pulls the mandible forward in both the open and closed positions. With the Modified Herbst, the patient can open and close their mouth and have limited side-to-side jaw movement.
- Nocturnal Airway Patency Appliance (NAPA)
This is a rigid appliance stabilizes the jaw in both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.
- Klearway Appliance
This is a single-piece appliance that attaches to the upper and lower teeth with a screw capable of advancing the jaw
- Silencer Appliance
This is a two-piece appliance held together with a special titanium hinge. Because it allows for jaw movement, it’s considered one of the most comfortable appliances.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
CPAP is the current gold standard utilized by the medical profession for the treatment of OSA. The CPAP device iis a tightly fitting nose mask that is strapped to the head and connected by a hose to an air compressor pump. Air is forced into the airway through the nasal passages in order to open it up and allow adequate room for normal breathing.
For patients with severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, the CPAP may be a literal life-saver. In cases of mild to moderate OSA, however, or in cases where patients refuse to wear the CPAP, oral appliances may be used instead.
Complaints about the use of the CPAP device include pump noise, skin irritations from the mask, headaches from the strap around the head, voice changes, nose and throat dryness, tinnitus, sinus infections, difficulty sleeping and difficulty breathing out against the air being forced through the nose.
Most Common Surgical Treatments for Snoring and Sleep Apnea
- Laser Assisted Uvuloplasty (LAUP)
If the uvula is excessive, or linked to the cause of a snoring or sleep apnea problem, this procedure is used to surgically remove it using a laser.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
This procedure removes an excess of palatal tissue that may be contributing to snoring or sleep apnea problems.
Either procedure can be quite painful during the healing period. Following surgery, patients report voice changes and difficulty in swallowing their food. Nonetheless, patients should be informed of all their options prior to any treatment, whether surgical or nonsurgical.