Sleep Apnea: How Many Treatment Options Do You Have?

If your general practitioner diagnoses you with sleep apnea, take every action possible to protect your health. Not only can sleep apnea affect your ability to breathe steadily and properly throughout the night, it can have many long-term negative effects on your health. Learn how to manage your condition with the sleep apnea treatment options below.

Oral Appliance Treatment

Oral appliances are small devices that fit inside your mouth instead of around or over it. Depending on your unique situation, a doctor may prescribe you a tongue retaining device (TRD) or a mandibular advancement device (MAD). Tongue retaining devices prevent your tongue from falling back into your throat, and mandibular advancement devices stabilize your lower jaw. Both devices keep your airways open enough to transport air to your lungs when you sleep at night.

In order for a tongue retaining device or a mandibular advancement device to work properly, a doctor must custom make it for you. The devices must fit the dimensions of your teeth and jaw without slipping or moving out of place during the night. A doctor may also need to adjust the device if you gain or lose weight, experience tooth loss, or develop another problem that interferes with how it fits inside your mouth.

If an oral appliance isn't for you, consider trying positional therapy instead.

Positional Therapy

Positional therapy is often used to treat sleep apnea patients who sleep on their backs. Snoring and other sleep apnea symptoms may be worse for back sleepers than they are for side sleepers. Positional therapy teaches you how to sleep on your sides instead of your back. 

A doctor may use different types of positional therapy treatments in their office. For example, some doctors ask their patients to wear braces on their backs at night. Braces prevent you from accidentally turning on your back when you sleep. Some physicians instruct their patients to place wedges between their thighs and knees, behind their backs, or under their arms. The device you use for your therapy may depend on the type of sleep apnea you have, your age, and several other crucial factors.

If positional therapy isn't sufficient enough to treat your sleep apnea, a doctor may use other proven methods to help you. These methods may include weight management treatment, upper airway stimulation treatment, and surgery.

You can learn more about sleep apnea and the devices used to treat your condition by contacting a doctor today.