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Sleep Apnea Treatment Erie, PA

Great Sleep Is Essential to Great Health

Sleep apnea is a potentially deadly condition. By disrupting your sleep, apneas can disrupt numerous systems in the body, from your brain to your heart to your metabolism, leading to numerous dangerous complications. Fortunately, sleep apnea is also treatable. There are many treatment options, so finding the best sleep apnea treatment for everyone is possible.

Dr. John H. Tucker is a pioneering sleep dentist. He’s been treating sleep apnea in Erie for over 15 years. He remains the only sleep dentist in the Tri-State Erie area certified by the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM). At Tucker Dental Excellence, we take an interdisciplinary approach to treatment. Patients who respond well to oral appliance therapy (OAT) get treated in our office. For those who would benefit from other treatments, we work closely with local sleep doctors and sleep centers to match them with the treatment that works for them.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is when your breathing stops for extended periods during sleep. Your breathing stops long enough that your brain registers an oxygen shortage and awakens just enough to restore breathing.

How much you register this awakening can vary. You might start from sleep gasping and choking. You might wake up calmly, registering an urgent need to urinate, and think that’s why you’re up. Or you might not ever be aware that you’re waking at all. Even though your sleep is interrupted hundreds of times a night, you might never know what’s happening. All you know is that you never feel rested, no matter how many hours you spend in bed.

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive (OSA) and central (CSA). OSA is the most common, accounting for up to 98% of cases by some estimates. In this type, your airway collapses at night, cutting off your access to air. Your tongue or throat is strangling you. In CSA, your brain stops telling your body to breathe.

It’s possible to have both types. This is sometimes called complex sleep apnea or treatment-emergent when people develop it after Positive airway pressure (PAP) treatment.

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Young woman in a teal sweater smiling and relaxing by a window, evoking a cozy, serene atmosphere.

Treatment Options

There are many options for treatment, including:

  • Positive airway pressure (PAP)
  • Oral appliance therapy (OAT)
  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation
  • Surgery
  • Positive airway pressure (PAP)
  • Oral appliance therapy (OAT)
  • Hypoglossal nerve stimulation
  • Surgery

Each treatment option has its benefits and disadvantages. With our interdisciplinary approach, we work with many sleep medicine providers to match each patient with a treatment that’s right for them.

See What Our Patients Have To Say

See What Our Patients
Have To Say

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Positive Airway Pressure (PAP)

What It Is: PAP keeps your airway open with a high-pressure airflow that forces air into your lungs. This maintains an open airway and keeps delivering air even if your body stops breathing.

Advantages: If properly utilized, PAP therapy can achieve almost 100% effectiveness in managing sleep apnea, addressing all its variations.

Disadvantages: Many people find PAP inconvenient and uncomfortable. Some people never adapt to PAP, and long-term compliance is low. Maintenance can be difficult. Over time, replacement equipment can get expensive. PAP can cause CSA.

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)

What It Is: OAT supports the tissues of your airway to hold it open at night. Usually, they achieve this by repositioning the jaw, which is the main bony support for your airway between your skull and chest.

Advantages: OAT is comfortable, convenient, and easy to use. It has high compliance rates and can be as effective as PAP in many cases. Over the long-term, it can be less expensive than PAP.

Disadvantages: OAT only treats obstructive sleep apnea. It is not considered a frontline treatment for severe sleep apnea.

Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulation

What It Is: The tongue is often responsible for airway obstruction when it relaxes and slumps back in the throat. Hypoglossal nerve stimulation keeps the tongue from slumping by stimulating the nerve that controls the tongue, similar to how a pacemaker stimulates the heart.

Advantages: Once you have the implant, it’s easy to use. It’s highly effective for appropriate candidates.

Disadvantages: Surgery has risks, especially for people with sleep apnea. Only treats obstructive sleep apnea with significant involvement of the tongue.

Sleep Apnea Surgery

What It Is: Sleep apnea surgery tries to open your airway by removing obstructing tissues, such as the uvula, parts of the palate, tonsils, and more.

Advantages: Surgery can provide immediate relief from sleep apnea without needing any device or appliance while sleeping.

Disadvantages: Surgery has risks, especially for people with sleep apnea. The success rate is low. Even for people who experience good results initially, these results may worsen over time.

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How Can We Help You?

How Can We Help You?

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Oral Appliance Therapy Options

Our Erie, PA dentist offers many oral appliance options to help people find the most comfortable and practical. The appliances we offer include:

  • Oasys
  • Respire
  • ProSomnus
  • Somnomed
  • Panthera

The Connection Between Sleep Apnea and TMJ

When considering your treatment options, it’s important to understand the significant connection between sleep apnea and TMJ. Many people have both conditions because the shape and position of the jaw affect the ability of the airway to stay open during sleep.

Treating sleep apnea without paying attention to TMJ can worsen jaw problems. If you know you have TMJ or have TMJ symptoms, it’s recommended that you speak with a TMJ dentist before starting sleep apnea treatment.

Get Sleep Apnea Treatment in Erie, PA

If you are looking for effective treatment that fits your personal preferences, lifestyle, and needs, contact the pioneering dental sleep center, Tucker Dental Excellence. Call (814) 836-7777 or use our online form today to request an appointment.

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