Highland Park (847) 432-1111 2685 Waukegan Ave, Highland Park, IL 60035
Northbrook (847) 498-4415 450 Skokie Blvd. 101, Northbrook, IL 60062
Mundelein (847) 566-5100 444 N Prospect Ave, Mundelein, IL 60060
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Sleep Apnea Treatment – Mundelein / Highland Park /

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious disorder where people stop breathing multiple times each night due to a physical blockage of their airway. This interruptive sleep disorder causes daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, headaches, and other symptoms that often interfere with everyday life. People who suffer from OSA may have difficulty staying awake at work, thus jeopardizing their job, or they may have to struggle to stay awake while driving.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Mundelei

Health problems, including an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure are also attributed to OSA, and the lack of restful sleep that accompanies this condition.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the “gold standard” treatment for people dealing with OSA. This option involves a medical machine forcing pressurized air into the airway, keeping it open while the patient sleeps. While this is a highly effective treatment, many people find it difficult to sleep while wearing the necessary mask, simply making it impractical to use. In these instances, oral appliances might be recommended instead.

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea in Adults

Oral appliances, which are devices that are placed in the mouth to keep your airway open while you sleep, can be prescribed by your family dentist in Highland Park, Northbrook, or Mundelein, IL. While these appliances may reduce snoring, they are different from the anti-snoring devices you will find in stores – which are not studied or approved for OSA treatment.

Additionally, while oral appliances work well to lessen or eliminate OSA, they cannot be used to treat those suffering with central sleep apnea (CSA), which is caused by issues related to brain stem signaling – not a physical airway obstruction.

There are two different types of oral appliances we recommend for adult OSA – the Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD), and the Tongue-Stabilizing Device (TSD). Each works a bit differently, with the MAD connecting to both the upper and lower teeth to move the jaw forward. Thus, it is designed to open the upper airway by moving the base of the tongue forward.

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

This type of appliance looks similar to a mouthguard, and like a mouthguard, it can be purchased in stock form or customized to the individual. There are many variations of these devices when it comes to shape, color, and materials, and research shows they are quite effective in reducing the number of breathing lapses per night as well as reducing snoring frequency, volume, and daytime sleepiness.

The second type of device, the TSD, is designed to keep the base of the tongue from blocking your airway by the use of suction. These tend to be one-size-fits-all, stock devices consisting of a plastic bulb where the tip of your tongue sits, protruding through your lips. While these devices have not been as widely used or studied, preliminary data suggests that they reduce breathing lapses and improve symptoms.

Rapid Maxillary Expansion for Children with OSA

Rapid maxillary expansion (RME) is an orthodontic device treatment for children suffering with OSA. It is designed to open the airway by expanding the roof of the mouth. This process involves attaching a custom-fitted expander over the top back teeth. Because the goal of this device is to permanently adjust the child’s anatomy to repair a narrow or highly arched palate, RMEs are worn at all times, unlike other oral appliances that are removed during the day.

About 25% of children who receive this treatment are cured of OSA, while it reduces symptoms in a majority of children. Multiple studies have also shown that this treatment, used in combination with the removal of the tonsils and adenoids is more effective than either treatment option alone.

Oral Appliance Therapy Compared to Other Treatment Options

While the treatment of choice for adult OSA is CPAP therapy because of its 95% efficacy, in the real world, oral appliances can be more effective if you factor in compliance. For children, the first-line therapy is removal of the adenoids and the tonsils, as it is the most effective option. While CPAP therapy can be helpful in children, compliance is even worse than in the adult population. Orthodontic treatments like RME are very effective, especially in combination with surgery.

The best candidates for oral appliance therapy are adults who cannot (or will not) adjust to CPAP therapy or for those who do not have OSA but have issues with snoring. There really is little downside to utilizing oral appliances, as they come with virtually no risk of harm.

Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Speak with Us About Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and a CPAP machine is not an option for you, or you are experiencing issues due to snoring, speak with your dentist about the possibility of trying an oral appliance. During your dental exam in Mundelein, Northbrook, or Highland Park, IL, our dedicated dental professionals will be happy to discuss your diagnosis and the possible advantages of oral appliance treatment options.

As a family dentistry practice, we also provide OSA treatment for children. This may work instead of surgery, or can be helpful if symptoms persist after surgery is completed. Call our Northbrook, Mundelein, or Highland Park dental offices to learn more or to schedule an appointment today.

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