Man in bed snoring because of sleep apnea

It’s estimated that nearly 20 million Americans, or one in 15, have sleep apnea. Lapses in breathing during sleep characterize sleep apnea. These lapses often cause the person experiencing them to wake up throughout the night, meaning they rarely get the full night of rest they need.

In people with sleep apnea, the muscles in their throat relax and then collapse, blocking their airways and preventing them from breathing. This repetitive relaxing and collapsing process results in decreased oxygen in the blood, which could lead to dangerous health consequences, including cardiovascular complications, Type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and more. CPAP therapy has long been the go-to treatment for sleep apnea, but recent advances make it possible for people who can’t tolerate the machine to treat their condition through other means such as dental devices.

Can Sleep Apnea Go Away Without Treatment?

Obstructive sleep-disordered breathing is common in children, but in most cases, they tend to have mild symptoms that go away on their own as they grow up. For adults though, sleep apnea is a chronic condition that needs specialized treatment unless the case is mild and can be treated with lifestyle changes.

Adult anatomy tends to remain fixed from adolescence onwards, so it’s unlikely your sleep apnea will simply disappear on its own. Anatomy factors that contribute to sleep apnea include:

  • Sleeping on your back can cause your tongue to fall into your throat, blocking the airway
  • A deviated nasal septum
  • Narrowed nasal passageways
  • Oversized tonsils
  • Weight gain

Medically treating sleep apnea has enormous health benefits, as it can lower blood pressure, improve daytime energy, reduce the potential risk for cardiovascular events, and improve glucose control.

Is CPAP Your Only Treatment Option for Sleep Apnea?

While your sleep apnea isn’t likely to magically disappear on its own, the good news is there are effective treatments that can dramatically reduce your symptoms. If you’ve tried a CPAP machine and found it uncomfortable, Kanehl Dental Group offers proven alternative therapies for the three major types of sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea or OSA occurs when the muscles around your throat relax too much and cause it to close.
  • Central sleep apnea, aka CSA, occurs when your brain fails to signal the muscles that control your breathing.
  • Complex sleep apnea syndrome or CSAS is also known as mixed sleep apnea or treatment-emergent central sleep apnea. It occurs when you have both OSA and CSA.

Dental appliances are an excellent treatment with which, many of our patients have had tremendous success. Our comfortable mouthguards and oral bite splints are for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea who can’t or don’t want to tolerate a CPAP machine. A dentist should prescribe these non-invasive devices to ensure they fit your mouth exactly. 

If you think you have sleep apnea and would like to explore an alternative treatment, contact Kanehl Dental Group today to schedule a consultation.