There are few greater, simple pleasures than a good night's sleep. This is a pleasure that can seem beyond your reach when you're affected by sleep apnea. Even minor instances of sleep apnea can be extremely disruptive, and the disorder can even be quite hazardous — beyond robbing you of a decent night's sleep. Relief is possible, and it doesn't necessarily have to be a mask connected to a machine.
That machine, or rather, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can be rather beneficial, especially in severe cases of sleep apnea. It provides a continuous flow of pressurized air, which comfortably keeps your airways open while you sleep. The physical presence of the mask on your face can deter some people, and while there can be an adjustment period, you will quickly become accustomed to sleeping with the mask portion of the CPAP machine. You shouldn't begin to use such a machine without consulting your doctor, although your doctor isn't the only medical professional you may need to consult.
A CPAP machine might be the best option for severe sleep apnea, but in moderate cases, a dental option is available. Some patients can have the capacity of their nasal cavity expanded by having their upper jaw expanded. This might sound extreme, and while it does require a minor procedure, you don't need to take any further action beyond this. The palatal expansion process itself can vary, and it can involve a HYRAX appliance, which is a hygienic rapid palatal expander. This is welded onto four bands that are attached to your upper teeth. The HYRAX is adjustable, and your dentist will periodically expand it, thus permanently expanding your nasal cavity capacity. Alternatively, a process known as mini-implant-assisted rapid palatal expansion can yield similar results.
Sleep apnea oral appliances can be the most straightforward solution for minor (or even moderate) cases of sleep apnea, so you might want to have a chat with your dentist. It's actually quite simple for your dentist to customize one of these devices, which are known as mandibular advancement splints, and work by gently repositioning the lower jaw while you sleep, which minimizes obstruction of your airways. They can be comfortable once you've gotten used to them, but it's crucial that you only obtain such a device from your dentist. Purchasing a generic product that claims to achieve the same results risks seriously damaging your teeth.
Sleep apnea can be uncomfortable, and hazardous to your health. You shouldn't have to live with this disruption to your sleep, and whether your sleep apnea is minor, moderate, or severe — there's a solution for you.