If you choose to incorporate sleep apnea therapy into your practice, there is a good chance that one day, a patient will ask if the problem ever goes away on its own. While this would be the ideal situation for everyone experiencing sleep-breathing issues, the reality is that it is a prognosis that lasts a lifetime. Learn valuable information as to how you can explain to your patients that although sleep apnea cannot be “cured,” its symptoms can significantly lessen, allowing them to enjoy a better quality of life.
Does Sleep Apnea Ever Go Away?
The reality is that sleep apnea is not something that goes away once treatment is provided. Instead, the symptoms associated with the chronic condition tend to lessen, making it possible to breathe easier and rest better each night. While certain surgical procedures can help reduce snoring and improve various areas of your mouth that may be contributing to your apnea (i.e., the removal of tonsils and adenoids, expansion of the hard palate, orthodontic therapy), the only potential patients that might see a true “cure” are young children. Why? Because their oral and facial structure are not yet fixed into place. However, this isn’t always the case.
Oral surgeries concerning the jaw may also prove beneficial, but they are also highly invasive and require breaking the bone and repositioning it. As a result, it often changes the facial appearance of an individual.
Ways to Reduce Symptoms and Rest Better
For most patients, the idea of undergoing complex oral surgery that may or may not resolve the issue isn’t a chance they’re willing to take. Instead, finding a skilled and knowledgeable sleep dentist who can provide reliable treatment solutions sounds much more appealing. When meeting with patients to discuss their situations and goals, it’s best to combine sleep apnea treatment and lifestyle changes to ensure they experience a greater reduction of symptoms. To do this, you can recommend that they:
- Lose weight – Exercise and eating a healthy diet can help patients who are obese or overweight lose unwanted body fat, especially in the area around the neck.
- Breathing techniques – Finding ways to strengthen the muscles in the throat can help reduce the chances of it collapsing onto the individual’s airway while sleeping.
- Treating allergies and sinus congestion – Certain steroid medications can keep the nasal passage clear and open, minimizing the problems caused by allergies and sinus congestion.
- Sleeping with your head propped – Instead of a person lying on their back, propping the head up at an angle can help to minimize the potential risk of throat collapse onto the airway.
Although sleep apnea never “goes away,” the lifestyle changes a person can make as well as working with a trusted sleep dentist who can provide CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), or oral appliance therapy will create a more comfortable and manageable sleeping experience.
About 21st Century Sleep Seminars
Dr. Kent Smith is a top professional in sleep medicine who has experience in treating, writing, and speaking about sleep disorders. His wealth of knowledge has helped other dentists integrate sleep apnea treatment into their practices. At 21st Century Sleep Seminars, we can provide you with the information, tips, advice, and network of professionals you need to effectively treat these sleep disorders your patients are facing. To learn more, visit our website or call (972) 255-3712.