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Can You Cure Sleep Apnea?

May 29, 2024
Can You Cure Sleep Apnea?

Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder that is characterized by snoring and breathing obstruction while sleeping. The most common way to stop sleep apnea is to provide treatment for the symptoms. But can you cure sleep apnea? Here’s what you need to know. 

What Causes Sleep Apnea? 

To understand treatment vs cure for sleep apnea, it helps to understand what causes the condition in the first place. The long name is obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common type. This refers to the fact that your airway becomes obstructed, or blocked, when you’re sleeping. The primary cause of airway blockage is your tongue sliding back toward your throat, especially when you lay down on your back. Another cause is collapse of the throat tissues, causing a narrowing of the airway. 

Treatment For Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be treated in two different ways, an oral appliance or a CPAP machine. An oral appliance is a mouth guard that you wear at night that holds the lower jaw in a forward position, preventing your tongue from sliding back to block your airway. A CPAP machine delivers a constant flow of air through a mask worn over the mouth and nose, or sometimes just the nose, that keeps your airway open while you sleep. These simply treat the symptoms and will need to be worn at night for the rest of your life to manage your sleep apnea. 

Curing Sleep Apnea 

A cure for any disorder or condition typically means a long term solution that prevents the symptoms from returning, without the need for any medication or daily treatment. Sleep apnea can be cured with surgery in some cases. Jaw surgery can change the shape of your lower jaw and/or upper palate to create room for your tongue to sit properly against the roof of your mouth and keep it from sliding back to block your airway. Throat surgery can remove excess tissue that may be blocking your airway, or reinforce the throat tissues to keep your airway open. 

Which is the Best Option For Me? 

Treating sleep apnea is much less invasive and not as complex as curing sleep apnea. However, if you feel that wearing a mouthguard or using a CPAP machine every night for the rest of your life is not ideal, you may want to look into a surgical cure. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea 

I live alone. How will I know if I have sleep apnea? 

If there is no one to hear you snore or stop breathing at night, you may notice other symptoms. If you have frequent headaches, especially in the morning, feel tired often, doze off easily during the day, have trouble with focus, or wake up breathless, you may need to seek a professional diagnosis. 

Why see a dentist for sleep apnea? 

Dentists are just as qualified to diagnose and treat sleep apnea as a sleep specialist, and the process will almost certainly cost you less. Since sleep apnea is most often caused by mouth tissues, dentists have the necessary knowledge and expertise. If a patient has mild to moderate sleep apnea, wearing a mouthguard is the preferred treatment to enable better sleep at night.  A CPAP machine is only required when the diagnosis is a more severe case of sleep apnea.

Where Do I Begin? 

If you think you may have sleep apnea, the first step is to consider your symptoms. Do you snore loudly, have frequent headaches, feel tired throughout the day, or wake up gasping for air? These are common symptoms of sleep apnea. If you experience these or other symptoms associated with sleep apnea, contact your dentist. Metropolitan Dental Care can work with your GP to prescribe and at-home sleep study.  Our office can provide a diagnosis and treatment of sleep apnea in the form of a custom mouthguard that reduces snoring and helps keep your airway open while you sleep. We can also discuss surgical options for a long term cure if you’re interested. 

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275 Madison Ave, Suite 2118
New York, NY 10016