How Can Sleep Apnea Be Treated?

sleep apnea sufferer

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve been battling sleep apnea, or you know someone who is. At Minnesota Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we understand how challenging this condition can be. The good news is, there are multiple ways to treat sleep apnea, many of which are far less invasive than you might think. So, let’s discuss some of the potential treatment options.

Lifestyle Changes

Believe it or not, some simple lifestyle changes can significantly impact sleep apnea symptoms. These include:

  • Weight Loss: If you’re overweight or obese, shedding those extra pounds can relieve constriction of your airway. Consult with a nutritionist or dietitian who can guide you through a healthy weight loss plan.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity can help ease the symptoms of sleep apnea. Exercise benefits your heart and lungs and often leads to weight loss.
  • Alcohol and Smoking: Both can worsen sleep apnea and snoring. Try reducing your alcohol intake and, if possible, quit smoking.
  • Sleep Position: Changing your sleep position can help open up your airway. Many people find relief from sleeping on their sides or stomachs rather than on their backs.

Oral Appliances

One of the options we often recommend at our clinic are oral appliances. These are devices that you wear in your mouth while you sleep.

  • Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): These look like mouth guards used in sports. MADs help by pushing your lower jaw forward, which opens up the airway.
  • Tongue Retaining Devices: These are similar to MADs but include a small compartment that holds the tongue forward, preventing it from collapsing and obstructing the airway.

If you opt for an oral appliance, it’s important to remember that these devices must be custom-fitted to your mouth, a service we provide at Minnesota Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP is perhaps the most common treatment for sleep apnea. This involves wearing a mask over your nose and/or mouth while you sleep. The mask is connected to a machine that delivers a constant stream of air, keeping your breathing passages open.

While CPAP is highly effective, it can take some getting used to. Fortunately, modern machines are quieter and masks are more comfortable than ever before.


When other treatment options are not successful or suitable, surgery may be an option. There are several types:

  • Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This surgery removes soft tissue from the back of the throat, increasing the width of the airway.
  • Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA): This surgery moves the upper and lower part of the jaw forward to increase the size of the airway.
  • Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation: This relatively new surgical procedure involves the implantation of a device that stimulates the nerve controlling the tongue, keeping it from blocking the airway.

At Minnesota Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, we are skilled in these procedures and can discuss whether they might be suitable for your particular situation.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition, but it doesn’t have to control your life. With various treatment options available, you can find a solution that suits your lifestyle and needs. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. We are here to guide and support you every step of the way. Sleep well, friends.

Correcting Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Do you often find yourself unable to breathe when sleeping? If yes, then you could be having obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition occurs when your upper airways get partially or fully blocked, preventing air from going in or out. People with this condition experience periodic pauses in breathing that negatively impact their sleeping patterns. So, they tend to suffer from prolonged fatigue and daytime sleepiness.

In fact, studies have shown that people with OSA are at a high risk of getting involved in road accidents because they are more likely to fall asleep while driving. If left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to numerous long-term health problems. OSA is a contributor to depression, memory loss, weakened immunity, high blood pressure, mental confusion, diabetes, and acid reflux. So, you should see a doctor immediately if you suspect you have OSA. Luckily, there are several treatment options available.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is one of the most consistently successful and commonly used treatments for obstructive sleep apnea. It involves the use of a CPAP machine that has a fan for blowing air into your nostrils. This air is under pressure, and it serves as an inflated splint that opens up the pharyngeal airways. This treatment method isn’t curative; therefore, patients have to use the CPAP machine whenever they sleep. However, it is known to improve the quality of sleep and reduce daytime sleepiness.

Oral Appliances

There are several oral appliances that you can use to move your tongue and mandible forward. These appliances can be useful for people who have mild apnea but snore. While the efficacy of these appliances in treating OSA has not been very consistent, some studies have shown partial improvement in some patients. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, before any patient uses these appliances, a mandatory initial sleep analysis must be done to assess their condition’s severity.


Different types of surgeries can help cure obstructive sleep apnea. For instance, you can go for palatal surgery, which removes the obstructive part of the soft palate and uvula. Palatal surgery tends to lessen snoring and other forms of sleep-disordered breathing. Another standard procedure is jaw surgery, which involves the advancement of a patient’s maxillomandibular. This surgery is known to be one of the most effective treatments for OSA. However, this is a more invasive procedure, and therefore patients who have it should brace themselves for a protracted recovery period.