Is obstructive sleep apnea causing havoc in your life or the life of someone you love? Finding out that snoring has a more serious cause than allergies or a ceiling fan can be difficult to accept, especially when your doctor starts outlining your options.
For many, a CPAP machine is the suggested form of therapy, and there are plenty of cases in which it is the best, most effective form of sleep apnea treatment. Naperville residents do have alternate options, however, and the best person to talk to about snoring issues might not be your general family doctor at all – but a dentist who is an expert in the treatment of sleep apnea!
Dr. Lydia Sosenko is generally regarded as the top dentist for Sleep Apnea Appliance Therapy in the greater Naperville area. She can review your sleep apnea diagnosis, help you figure out if a CPAP machine is really necessary, or if an oral appliance might be a better fit. For many patients, the possibility of an alternative is welcome news, since sleeping while attached to a CPAP machine can be unpleasant and disrupt normal sleeping patterns.
Before you ask your dentist about sleep apnea therapies, it’s good to understand a little bit about both the condition and the various options for treatment.
What happens during a sleep apnea event?
Sleep apnea patients experience muscle relaxation in the back of the throat and in the tongue muscles when they sleep. This means that the airway can close off momentarily. When the brain realizes it is not getting the usual amount of oxygen, it startles the body awake just enough for the muscles to tighten up and a breath to be taken – often resulting in the snoring or snorting noise.
The sleeper may never fully wake during these events, which can happen over and over through the course of the night. The body is in a constant struggle between sleep and breathing – and while it’s good that breathing always wins, it does so at a cost! The most common side effect of sleep apnea is severe fatigue, because the body never gets to drop down into the most restful kind of sleep.
How does the CPAP machine work?
The CPAP machine provides Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, keeping the airway open. The unit includes a tightly fitting mask, which must be worn while sleeping, and which is attached via a hose to the actual CPAP unit. The benefits of the CPAP machine are often not fully realized by patients, because the wearer hates being hooked up to the device. Quite a few patients stop using their CPAP within just a few years, saying they can’t sleep with it in place, or that the machine makes so much noise that it keeps them (and their bed partner) awake.
Can an oral appliance really help?
Dr. Sosenko routinely sees patients with obstructive sleep apnea in Naperville. If the patient is a good candidate, she can have an oral appliance fitted that can be worn at night to adjust the position of the jaw. The careful jaw positioning keeps the throat and tongue muscles from relaxing so much that they close off the airway. The result is a more comfortable night’s sleep, with less snoring and a higher quality of rest.
Whether you have just been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, of have been saying for years “I hate my CPAP!” Naperville dentist Dr. Lydia Sosenko could have a better option for you. It’s not the best solution for everyone – some patients really do need a CPAP machine for the best level of health. However, if you or your loved one can benefit from an oral appliance, living with sleep apnea could suddenly be a whole lot easier.