With the many health risks that sleep apnea can cause, it is fortunate that a number of advances have been made over the last several years that can help patients successfully reduce the effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and improve their daily lives. Our experienced dentist, Dr. Michael Fulbright, has made the treatment of sleep apnea a special focus of his practice. A member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine since 2011, Dr. Fulbright offers a full range of options for both adults and children affected by sleep apnea. Fulbright Snoring & Sleep Solutions is able to provide patients with customized treatments designed to fight the effects of sleep apnea without sacrificing your comfort to an extensive degree.
Please take a look at the descriptions below to find out more about our sleep apnea treatment options. Our office offers free sleep apnea consultations for both adults and children. During this initial meeting, Dr. Fulbright will perform a thorough oral evaluation and talk with you about diagnostic testing and treatment options that can offer the best possible results. Please contact us today for more information, or to schedule an appointment.
One of the most important things that individuals who may be suffering from sleep apnea can do is to participate in a sleep study. This test can be performed in a dedicated facility or it can often be done in the comfort of your own home. Your primary care physician can refer you to a preferred provider, or Dr. Fulbright can prescribe an at-home sleep study. Our practice also offers what’s known as a polysomnogram (PSG). This advanced tool involves a series of tests that can be administered overnight. A PSG can help in the determination of the best treatment options to reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea in your particular case.
Customized oral appliances are advanced devices that can keep the airways clear of obstructions caused by sleep apnea. They look similar to mouthguards or orthodontic retainers, and are designed to fit comfortably inside your mouth. An oral appliance can serve to reposition the soft tissue of the mouth and the lower jawbone, helping to prevent oral structures from blocking air passages once they become relaxed during sleep. Oral appliances have been shown to reduce and even eliminate snoring and diminish the possibility of breathing pauses. They can often serve as an effective alternative to CPAP machines (described below) or surgery. One such option, known as the Mandibular Advancement Device, commonly referred to as MAD, can be an option for some patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea. It can also be used in conjunction with a CPAP machine for those suffering from severe sleep apnea. Many people find that this device is easier to use and easier to transport than a standard CPAP machine.
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device, or CPAP, is a ventilator designed to keep mild air pressure consistently flowing through oral and nasal passages while you sleep, lessening the chance that your airways become blocked. The air is delivered through a facemask connected via a hose attached to the machine. While the CPAP has been a standard treatment for sleep apnea for many years, many people experience discomfort or claustrophobia while using it. Some individuals also find that the noise made by the machine prevents them from obtaining a good night’s sleep. These issues can lead to non-compliance with treatment protocols and a decreased chance that sleep apnea is being successfully addressed.
Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure, also known as BIPAP or BPAP, is similar to a CPAP device; however, this option utilizes a different method of air pressure and is often prescribed for individuals who have not had a good response to the CPAP machine. It is also used for patients who have other conditions, such as specific types of neuromuscular disorders, lung disorders, or cardiopulmonary/congestive heart failure concerns.
Fortunately, advanced options such as an oral appliance, or even surgery, can help patients who would like an alternative to options such as the CPAP or BiPAP devices.
An adenotonsillectomy involves the surgical removal of the adenoids and tonsils – oral structures that can obstruct breathing and be primary factors in cases of sleep apnea. This is a very common surgical procedure, particularly among children. An adenotonsillectomy in combination with a non-invasive oral appliance and orthodontic therapy can be one of the most effective ways to treat pediatric sleep apnea. While Dr. Fulbright does not perform this procedure, he can include it among a comprehensive sleep apnea treatment plan and refer you to a physician who can perform the surgery as the first step.
Contact Fulbright Snoring & Sleep Solutions
If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, Fulbright Snoring & Sleep Solutions can help. Please contact us today with any questions you may have, or to schedule a complimentary sleep apnea consultation.