woman sleeping peacefully due to sleep apnea treatment

Longmont Sleep Apnea Treatment

Good news, if you have sleep apnea, there are a lot of terrific treatment methods available.  In fact, if you have a medium to mild form, it’s something that dentists can effectively treat.  Keep reading to learn about your treatment options.

Treatment Options

There are four main treatment options for sleep apnea which include; CPAP, Inspire, oral appliance, or surgery. Surgery is a rarely used treatment option as it would be done at a last resort. In order to determine which treatment is best, you will first need a sleep study. Based on the results, your doctor can advise the best treatment method.

CPAP machine

CPAP

This equipment is what most people think of when they think of sleep apnea treatment. It stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure and it’s primarily used to treat moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea. CPAP’s are extremely effective at treating sleep apnea and are considered the gold standard.

However, they have a lot of disadvantages which include being uncomfortable and bulky. Therefore, compliance is often subpar with CPAP’s.

diagram of inspire sleep apnea device in patient

Inspire

A more recent option for sleep apnea treatment, Inspire was approved by the FDA in 2014.  This device is inside the body and stabilizes your throat during sleep to prevent an obstruction.  The device is controlled be a remote control which the patient can turn on before bed and off when they wake up in the morning.

Just like with CPAP’s, Inspire is used to treat moderate to severe cases of sleep apnea.  Also, like CPAP’s they’re extremely effective.  Arguably the largest advantage to a CPAP is convenience as there are no masks and the device stays inside of you.  However, they do have some major disadvantages as well.  First, they’re expensive.   These devices can cost over $30,000 and changing the batteries can cost $15,000 or more. Second, since the device is inside of you, it will require surgery to place the device as well as switch it’s battery.

Mandibular advancement device used to treat sleep apnea

Oral Appliance

These appliances are technically called Mandibular Advancement Devices and  they look like retainers.  As a sleep apnea dentist, it’s the form of treatment that we treat patients with at Longmont Dental Loft. They are used to treat mild to moderate forms of sleep apnea. And if you snore due to sleep apnea this device should eliminate your snoring.

These are extremely comfortable and easy to travel with. Due to how comfortable and convenient they are, the compliance is typically much higher than when people use a CPAP.

Mandibular Advancement Devices are only worn at night while sleeping. It forces the lower jaw (mandible) forward to maintain an open upper airway.

There are several types of mandibular advancement devices. At the lower end, they can be purchased from pharmacies. These are not custom made and are the least effective method. At the high end there are custom dental mandibular advancement devices. Dentists or other sleep specialists make these devices and since they’re custom tailored they offer a terrific fit. And of course if the fit isn’t perfect the dentist can adjust them.

What Forms of Sleep Apnea can Dentists Treat

Dentists can treat mild to moderate sleep obstructive sleep apnea with a sleep appliance. However, if you have severe sleep apnea then we will have to you refer you to a sleep doctor for treatment.

Process

For mild to moderate forms we will create a mandibular advancement device for the patient. The process for getting a custom-made sleep appliance is:

3D Scan

Your mouth will be scanned using our iTero scanner.

Appliance is Manufactured

The mandibular advancement device will be custom made for you using the 3D scan of your mouth. It typically takes 3 weeks for us to receive the finished product.

Fitting

You will come into our Longmont office for a fitting and to receive the device.

Follow-up

About a month after getting the device you will come in for a checkup and make sure it’s working properly. Dr. Hedrick can adjust if needed. In addition to the 1-month check-up, another follow-up will be needed about 6 months into treatment and a second sleep study will be needed.

How Long Will It Take for an Oral Appliance to Work?

Sleep devices are very effective at opening the air passage and there should be noticeable results on the first night of wearing it. For example, if you have sleep apnea and snore loudly, the sleep device should help with your snoring on the first night.

What Does the Oral Sleep Device Feel Like?

It can feel a little odd at first, but after a few nights you’ll get used to it. In fact, after a week you may not even realize you’re wearing it at night.

How will my Life Improve with a Sleep Device?

If you have sleep apnea, being treated with a mandibular advancement device will help you sleep better and feel better during the day. As a result, your quality of life can drastically improve. Of course, good compliance is key to achieving great results.

Start Sleep Apnea Treatment Today

Are you ready to improve your health and start sleeping better?  If so, we would love to see you for a consultation.

Contact our Office