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Evidence supports that upper airway collapsibility is the underlying cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and Snoring, collectively referred to as Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB).
At FusionHealth®, we employ a number of clinically proven strategies to resolve SDB including medical interventions, positive airway pressure support, positioning therapy, weight loss therapy, and oral appliance therapy. Surgery is only recommended in very select cases.
Most importantly, we consider your particular needs, in terms of the type of SDB diagnosed, and your personal comfort with any potential therapy.
Depending on the nature of your SDB, treatment may include a medicine designed to enhance your upper airway muscular activity during sleep.
Recent evidence supports the use of a range of medications that affect the neurochemical control of upper airway muscle tone during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. These medications are often employed together with other non-medical treatments for SDB.
Positive Airway Pressure Therapy (PAP)
The most common form of SDB therapy is Positive Airway Pressure, or PAP, therapy. This consists of wearing a nasal or facial mask during sleep, that is attached by a long, flexible hose, to a PAP machine. The PAP machine delivers pressurized, heated, and humidified room air through the mask to your upper airway.
PAP therapy holds the airway open and eliminates snoring and all other forms of SDB. Since PAP therapy is so successful, has few to no complications, and has been used clinically for over 20 years, it currently is the treatment method of choice for most patients. There are two basic types of PAP machines: Continuous PAP, or C-PAP and bi-level PAP, or Bi-PAP. At FusionHealth®, we use both types of PAP therapy for patients of all ages.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances are devices worn in the mouth, similar to sports mouth guards or orthodontic retainers. Often referred to as Mandibular Repositioning Devices (MRD), the appliances are molded to your dentition and crafted to hold your lower jaw slightly forward so that the muscles (tongue and soft palate) are supported and maintain muscular tone.
Many well performed clinical studies demonstrate that OAT is very effective in treating SDB, from Snoring to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Oral appliances are usually used alone, but can be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy such as PAP, medical treatments, weight loss, and surgery. OAT is an exciting method of treatment which we have employed for many years. At FusionHealth®, our OAT program is designed to coordinate your sleep medicine needs with your dental sleep medicine care.
Surgical procedures on upper airway soft tissue structures often eliminate SDB in children (tonsils and adenoids). Recent meta-analyses of the literature conclude that surgical removal of the uvula and associated soft tissue structures in adults provides benefit in snoring for up to 50% of patients, but is not considered an effective therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
For patients with specific, boney facial and jaw deficits (such as a short jaw), there are also effective surgical therapies. At FusionHealth®, we only work with the most experienced surgeons in the field to provide you with the best alternatives in surgical care.
Positioning and Weight Loss Therapies
In many cases, sleeping on your back increases SDB (as noted in many snorers). Using a combination of soft wedges, sleep wear, and head positioning, supine SDB can be effectively managed in many patients. Most people consider weight gain as the cause of SDB. Actually, weight gain can increase the pressures placed on the airway which may increase the severity of SDB.
Weight loss is an effective strategy to reduce SDB, and is often employed with other more immediate therapies such as PAP or Oral Appliance Therapy.