FDA-Approved Options for Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
For patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is usually the first method of treatment. CPAP machines force air into the lungs through a facial mask worn during sleep. CPAP therapy works best for patients who are good about consistently using their CPAP machine night after night.
However, one commonly cited study indicates that 25 to 50 percent of patients stop using their CPAP machine regularly, or quit completely, after just three months. These patients often complained that the CPAP machine and the mask were too uncomfortable and cumbersome. If the CPAP mask was particularly ill-fitting, they also complained of the noise and lost pressure from leaking air. Others noted nasal congestion, dry mouth, facial pain, and/or a general claustrophobic feeling.
To help those who struggle to use their CPAP machine, the Laguna Hills Center for Sleep Apnea and CPAP Intolerance offers alternative solutions and treatments.
Custom CPAP Mask
If a patient's complaints about CPAP therapy center around air leakage and general discomfort on the nose and mouth, we often recommend trying a CPAP mask that is custom made to fit their unique facial structure. Our custom-made CPAP masks not only feel more comfortable, but they also reduce the claustrophobic feeling they can create. With a custom-fitted mask, a patient is more likely to continue with their CPAP therapy so they can finally enjoy restful and rejuvenating sleep on a nightly basis.
Oral Appliance Therapy
There's also another FDA-approved sleep apnea treatment, available at the Laguna Hills Center for Sleep Apnea and CPAP Intolerance, called oral appliance therapy (OAT) that doesn't require the use of a CPAP machine. OAT involves having an oral appliance, similar to a mouth guard, custom fitted to your teeth. You could be prescribed either a mandibular advancement device (MAD), also called a mandibular repositioning appliance (MRA), to hold your lower jaw slightly forward while you sleep, preventing your throat tissue and tongue from restricting your breathing; or a tongue retaining device (TRD) which prevents the tongue from collapsing and blocking your airway.
Patients using these FDA-approved dental devices appreciate their simplicity, convenience, portability, and nonintrusive nature. At the Laguna Hills Center for Sleep Apnea and CPAP Intolerance, we expertly fit and adjust every oral device to ensure proper fit and maximum effectiveness.
Some patients have found the best results from combination therapy which involves a combination of both CPAP therapy and oral appliance therapy.
When a patient is fitted with an oral device it is important to properly position the appliance for maximum oxygen intake. At Laguna Hills Center for Sleep Apnea, we conduct the laryngeal study using a Pharyngometer computer to measure the size of the oral pharyngeal passageway. The size of the airway can be increased by changing the position of the mandible (lower jaw) in relation to the maxilla (upper jaw). Dr. Abdulla is highly experienced at analyzing these measurements and adjusting the oral appliance for maximum oxygen intake based on each patient’s unique mandibular - maxilla relationship.
Eccovision Acoustic Rhinometer
In addition, our office also uses a Nasal Function Study using the Eccovision Acoustic Rhinometer to identify nasal obstruction in sleep disordered breathing patients. The left and right nostrils are tested independently and the results are displayed graphically to be saved and printed. If there is an obstruction or blockage, it will be easily seen. The Eccovision Acoustic Rhinometer lets us identify factors that may be inhibiting oxygen intake. Oxygen desaturation is a major factor in obstructive sleep apnea and a contributing factor in many other disorders.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options for Orange County Patients
Call and schedule a no-charge initial consultation at the Laguna Hills Center for Sleep Apnea and CPAP Intolerance today to learn more. During this consultation, you'll work with Dr. Abdulla, who is one of just a few dentists in Orange County who is trained in dental sleep medicine. With her experience and qualifications, you're certain to get the help you need to improve your sleep and health.