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Sleep Apnea Treatments
Rochester, NY

White female doctor assesses a white male patient with a CPAP sleep apnea machine attached to his face. Did you know that about one-third of people are unable to sleep peacefully for the recommended seven hours a night? While many of us blissfully surrender to slumber each night, for those affected by sleep apnea, a visit to the dreamland is blocked with interruptions, gasps, and struggles for breath. Thankfully, this disorder is treatable. There are various options available, allowing you to choose one that matches your comfort level.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

It is a type of sleep disorder that causes shallow breaths or pauses in breathing during sleep. The pauses usually last 10 seconds and happen multiple times. When breathing resumes, it's often accompanied by a snort, choking sound, or loud gasp. Sleep apnea disrupts the normal sleep cycle, leading to poor sleep quality and, consequently, various health issues.

Types of Sleep Apnea

•  Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): In this sleep apnea type, throat muscles go lax during sleep and the airway either gets blocked or becomes narrow. As a result, the affected person struggles to breathe, and the oxygen levels in the blood may drop.
•  Central Sleep Apnea (CSA): Compared to OSA, which involves physical obstruction of the airway, CSA occurs when the brain is unable to send the throat muscles signals, which are responsible for breathing. The airway isn't blocked, but the body simply doesn't make an effort to breathe. CSA is less common than OSA and is often associated with certain medical conditions such as heart failure or stroke.
•  Complex Sleep Apnea Syndrome – CompSAS (Treatment-Emergent Central Sleep Apnea): This sleep apnea type is called mixed or complex sleep apnea. It happens when a person initially diagnosed with OSA also develops central sleep apnea after receiving treatment, usually continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Identifying the symptoms of sleep apnea is essential for diagnosis and treatment. Common signs and symptoms include:
•  Morning headaches
•  Pauses in breathing during sleep, witnessed by a bed partner
•  Loud snoring, often accompanied by snorting or choking sounds
•  Excessive daytime sleepiness, even after a full night's sleep
•  Difficulty in remembering things and concentrating
•  Frequent urination during the night (nocturia)
•  Irritability and mood changes

Causes of Sleep Apnea

•  Obesity:A high weight can lead to the accumulation of fatty tissues around the neck and throat, which can obstruct the airway during sleep.
•  Anatomical Factors: Certain anatomical features can predispose people to sleep apnea. These may include a thick neck circumference, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, a narrow airway, a large tongue, or a deviated septum.
•  Alcohol and Sedative Use: Consuming alcohol or sedatives before bedtime can relax the throat muscles, making it more likely for the airway to become obstructed during sleep.
•  Smoking: Smoking can increase inflammation and fluid retention in the airway, leading to narrowing and obstruction of the upper respiratory tract, which can contribute to sleep apnea.
•  Neuromuscular Disorders: Conditions that affect the function of the muscles or nerves involved in breathing can increase the risk of sleep apnea. Examples include muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
•  Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions are linked to increased sleep apnea risk. These may include congestive heart failure, hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism and acromegaly.
•  Nasal Congestion: Chronic nasal congestion, whether due to allergies, sinusitis, or structural abnormalities, can make it difficult to breathe through the nose, leading to increased reliance on mouth breathing during sleep and potential airway obstruction.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy

•  This is an effective treatment for OSA, which is the most prevalent type of sleep apnea.
•  CPAP involves using a machine that delivers a constant flow of air through a mask worn over the nose or both the nose and mouth during sleep.
•  The continuous air pressure helps keep the airway open, preventing pauses in breathing and promoting uninterrupted sleep.

Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) Therapy

•  BiPAP therapy is similar to CPAP but provides different air pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation.
•  It may be prescribed for people who find it difficult to exhale against the pressure of a CPAP machine or who require higher pressure settings.
•  BiPAP therapy is often recommended for patients with certain medical conditions or specific breathing patterns.

Adaptive Servo-Ventilation (ASV) Therapy

•  ASV therapy is a newer treatment option that uses advanced technology to monitor breathing patterns and adjust air pressure accordingly.
•  It is typically prescribed for people with (CSA) or complex sleep apnea syndrome
•  ASV devices deliver varying levels of air pressure to support normal breathing patterns and prevent pauses in breathing during sleep.

Oral Appliances

•  Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs) or dental devices, are custom-made mouthpieces worn during sleep. You can get them from dental prosthodontics of Rochester.
•  These devices help keep the airway open by repositioning the lower jaw and tongue forward, preventing obstruction of the airway.
•  Oral appliances are often recommended for people with a mild case of OSA who prefer an alternative to CPAP therapy because they can't tolerate it.


Surgical interventions may be considered for people with severe sleep apnea who have not responded to other treatments or who have specific anatomical abnormalities contributing to airway obstruction.
Surgical options may include:
•  Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): Removal of excess tissue from the throat to widen the airway.
•  Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) Surgery: Repositioning the upper and lower jaw to increase the size of the airway.
•  Tracheostomy: Creating a surgical opening in the neck to bypass the blocked airway.
•  Lingual Tonsillectomy: Enlarged lingual tonsils can contribute to airway obstruction and exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms. This procedure involves the removal of the lingual tonsils, which are located at the base of the tongue.
•  Genioglossus Advancement (GA) or Tongue Base Reduction: This surgical procedure aims to prevent the tongue from collapsing backward and blocking the airway during sleep. It involves advancing the genioglossus muscle, which is attached to the tongue, to pull the tongue forward and prevent it from falling back.

Addressing sleep apnea is essential for overall health and well-being. Apart from medical treatments and therapy, people must also make lifestyle modifications, such as maintaining a healthy weight and sleeping on their side. These can significantly reduce the severity of sleep apnea symptoms, especially in mild cases. Moreover, these changes promote better sleep quality and reduce the frequency of breathing interruptions during the night.

Dental Prosthodontics of Rochester offers customized Mandibular Advancement Devices designed to provide you with restful, uninterrupted sleep. These promote optimal airflow throughout the night and improve your sleep quality. Schedule an appointment with our staff and meet our doctor for a consultation. For more information about our practice, visit our website or call (585) 673-7702.
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Sleep Apnea Treatment | Rochester, NY
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