Do you suffer from sleep apnea? Then you’re not alone – about ten percent of all snorers have it. That’s why in today’s article, we bring you three ways to treat sleep apnea: anti-snoring splint, CPAP breathing machine or, as a last resort, surgery. Interested in learning more? Read on!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Apnea means that breathing stops for a short time during sleep. This pause can last from a few seconds to about 10 seconds. The frequency of the pauses can also vary considerably. Because of these pauses, the person suffers from a lack of oxygen and their sleep is affected. In practice, the person is suffering from sleep deprivation without knowing it. In severe cases, sleep apnea can be fatal, for example for people with coronary heart disease where the lack of oxygen is dangerous. Overweight and, with age, weakening of the muscles of the floor of the mouth are the most common causes of sleep apnea. Weakened muscles cause the tongue to press on the trachea when lying down, narrowing the airway.
Three ways to treat sleep apnea:
- Snoring Splint
The splint is very useful for sleep apnea, but it can also be used as an aid for snoring, hence the name. The splint consists of two bite splints, one in each jaw, which are connected together by adjustable metal hinges. There are many different models, all with the same purpose. The most commonly used version is probably the Herbst appliance. The idea is to guide the bite so that the lower jaw is pushed forward. As a result, the muscles of the floor of the mouth are pulled forward and thus help to open the trachea.
Advantages of the anti-snoring splint:
- The use of the anti-snoring splint can significantly reduce snoring. It does not disappear completely, but it is at a “tolerable” level for the person with whom you share the bedroom.
- The quality of sleep improves and you feel more alert when you wake up.
- For some, the brace becomes so important that you become more or less dependent on it and have difficulty falling asleep without it.
- Does not produce any sound that disturbs the person sleeping next to it (CPAP machine for sound).
Disadvantages of the anti-snoring splint:
- The jaw joints become a little sore at the beginning of use as they get used to the new position, but this goes away after a while.
- The metal parts of a Herbst appliance rub easily on the mucous membrane of the cheek at the beginning and can cause sores, but this also usually disappears with time, after the mucous membrane gets used to the new situation. In any case, it is useful to follow the evolution of the situation.
- You often sleep with your mouth open, which dries out the mucosa. It is good to have a glass of water on the night table and to be able to use products intended for dry mouth (gel that moisturizes the mucosa, oils, etc.).
- CPAP Machine
The CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) gives the person oxygen with positive pressure through a tube that is placed near the nose. In this way, the person receives more oxygen into the airways and the lack of oxygen in the blood is reduced.
Benefits of CPAP
- You get more oxygen into your bloodstream and you sleep better.
Disadvantages of CPAP
- The machine makes noise that can disrupt sleep, especially for the person sleeping next to you.
- Does not really cure the problem, only the symptoms.
- Some people feel claustrophobic with a mask in front of their face.
In the past, it was thought that the soft palate was the main cause of noise during snoring. It was thought that it would help if the soft palate (soft palate and soft palate) were operated on with a laser. However, recently it turned out that this method is not so good. The operation helps to reduce the snoring at first, but the problems come back quite quickly (after about six months). There are other types of surgery as well, but none of them have shown better results and have not shown the usefulness of aspiration.
Benefits of surgery:
- There are really only very short-term benefits that come out of the above text.
Disadvantages of surgery:
- A very open throat, which makes it difficult to eat, among other things, and you easily get food down your nose and windpipe (you also can’t lean forward to eat, in case you have to).
- A lot of post-operative pain for a few weeks. The intensity of the pain can be described by the fact that it can take up to an hour to eat a bowl of filet.