Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Feb 2 2023, 08:01 AM

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes a person to stop breathing while sleeping. Dental patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea will exhibit a variety of symptoms. Perhaps the most common symptom is snoring, which is typically a sign or symptom of obstructive sleep loss. When a patient suffers from this disorder, they will experience their airway becoming blocked during sleep. This can cause the patient’s breathing to stop or become very shallow. As a result, the brain sends a message to wake up and restart the breathing process. The cycle will continue throughout the night, resulting in tired mornings due to interrupted sleep.

Here are some of the ways sleep apnea is treated:

Oral Appliance Therapy

An oral appliance is a small, custom-made device worn in the mouth during sleep. Oral appliances can help reposition the jaw to maintain an open airway and prevent obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Oral appliances are non-invasive, easy to care for, and portable. The dentist makes an impression on the patient’s mouth and creates a custom-fit device for a comfortable and effective solution. Patients should wear their devices nightly to keep the airways open. Some patients find it helpful to secure an oral appliance in place with a chin strap or headgear. In some cases, an oral appliance can be used in conjunction with CPAP therapy to improve effectiveness. If the patient can’t tolerate CPAP therapy, it might be beneficial to try an oral appliance first.

The type of oral appliance treatment a patient receives will depend on the severity of their sleep apnea, lifestyle needs and preferences, and other factors.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

CPAP is a common treatment for sleep apnea, and many patients have found success with the devices. The mask fits over the mouth or the nose to deliver a continuous flow of pressurized air that keeps the airway open and promotes regular breathing throughout the night. Some patients complain of claustrophobia when sleeping with a mask on, but most are able to find relief with adjustments made to the fit of the mask at home and at their next appointment with us.

Many patients find success with CPAP because they can finally enjoy uninterrupted sleep. Investing in the right device and finding a setting that works for your lifestyle can improve your results. If you’ve tried other treatment options without success, speak to our dentists about whether CPAP might be right for you.


For severe cases of sleep apnea, surgery may be necessary to open the air passages and reduce obstructions in the throat. There are several types of surgical procedures that can improve breathing and lower the risk of snoring and apnea episodes. Some examples include:

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): Removes excess tissue in the back of the mouth and the throat area.

Tonsillectomy: Removes the tonsils to help increase airflow through the airways.

Adenoidectomy: Removes adenoids from the throat to improve breathing in children and adults.

Pillar procedure: Insert small plastic implants into the soft palate to keep it from collapsing and blocking the airway.

Palatal implant: Places a small device over the roof of the mouth to prevent the soft tissues from blocking the air passage.

Genioglossus advancement: Moves the tongue forward to open the airway.

Maxillomandibular advancement: Cuts the upper jaw and lower jaw to push them forward to open the airway.

These procedures are generally performed under general anesthesia and require a short recovery period. Some patients experience pain and bleeding after the procedure, but these side effects should go away within a few days to a week.

To find out more about the dental services offered by our dentist in Albuquerque, NM, call (505)-293-7611 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 4830 Juan Tabo Blvd. NE, Ste. K, Albuquerque, NM, 87111.

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Phone: (505) 293-7611



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