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How to Treat Sleep Apnea Without CPAP

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CPAP hose and mask.

CPAP masks and treatments aren’t for everyone, but many other options are available to help you combat sleep apnea and get that well-needed rest. 

Surgical procedures like jaw repositioning or tissue removal and different variations of therapies or lifestyle changes may be great alternatives to CPAP in treating sleep apnea. 

It is important to consult with an experienced doctor, like Dr. Saleema Adatia, to create a plan of action for dealing with sleep apnea and getting the sleep you need. 

Therapies for Sleep Apnea 

CPAP can be an effective solution for those affected by sleep apnea, but it isn’t always the right choice for everyone. In some cases, the machine causes too much discomfort and may continue to disrupt sleep. Nonetheless, here are a few forms of sleep apnea therapies that may be beneficial: 

Oral Appliances

An oral appliance can be an effective treatment for sleep apnea and snoring. It involves using a specially created mouthguard designed to keep your airway open while sleeping. Our mouthguards are designed with comfort in mind and can be worn from any sleeping position.  

Associated Medical Problems 

Sometimes, sleep apnea may be caused by an associated medical problem, and the best treatment is targeted toward that issue. For example, heart or neuromuscular disorders may lead to sleep apnea, and resolving them would likely reduce these symptoms.

Supplemental Oxygen

Supplemental oxygen devices can be used to provide your lungs with more oxygen while you sleep. If you have central sleep apnea, your doctor may recommend trying it. 

Lifestyle Changes 

In addition to an oral appliance or other sleep apnea therapy, your doctor may recommend making some lifestyle changes that could worsen the problem. Here are a few changes you may be requested to make:

  • Weight Loss: Your doctor may recommend losing or gaining weight to help reduce symptoms of sleep apnea
  • Tobacco or Alcohol Consumption: If you smoke or drink, it could be playing a role in your sleep apnea. Your doctor may recommend eliminating these substances from your diet. 
  • Positional Therapy: Side sleeping is known to reduce the likelihood of having an obstructed airway. 

Surgical Treatments for Sleep Apnea 

A doctor may recommend surgical intervention if non-surgical treatments or devices are not working to treat your sleep apnea. Here are a few types of surgical treatments that could be done:

Tissue Removal 

A tissue removal surgery typically involves removing some of the tissue at the rear of your mouth and the top of your throat. In many cases, it also implies removing the tonsils and adenoids

Graphic of a snoring mouthpiece.

Jaw Repositioning 

Jaw repositioning creates more space behind the tongue and soft palate, making it less likely for an obstruction to occur. In a jaw repositioning procedure, your doctor moves your jaw forward from the rest of the facial bones.


If serious sleep apnea affects your health, your doctor may order a tracheostomy, which involves creating a new air passageway using a tube to allow breathing. 

What is Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep apnea can be a serious condition, and it is important to speak with your healthcare provider if you are experiencing any symptoms. Otherwise, it is a relatively common condition where your breathing may stop and restart several times during sleep. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea 

Sleep apnea is generally one of two different forms. Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form, as it can be developed from obesity, hormone levels, and other lifestyle choices. Obstructive sleep apnea is when your upper airway gets blocked while sleeping. 

Central Sleep Apnea 

The other form of sleep apnea, known as central sleep apnea, happens when the brain fails to signal the body to breathe. It is a less common form of sleep apnea and can develop from strokes, heart attacks, and other conditions. 

How to Diagnose It?

If you have signs of sleep apnea, your doctor will likely recommend a polysomnogram test, which measures your sleep and records important physical activities that could indicate the problem exists.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea 

Here are a few of the common symptoms experienced by people with sleep apnea:

  • Snoring Loudly
  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Gasping for air when sleeping 
  • Headaches and irritability 

What is CPAP?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is typically worn by people with sleep apnea to keep them breathing evenly throughout the night. It uses air pressure to prevent airways from closing when you sleep. 

CPAP machines generally include a mask, strap, and tube connected to a motor that will provide you with air throughout the night or when sleeping. For some, wearing the CPAP mask is very uncomfortable and prevents them from sleeping peacefully. Therefore, they may try one of the treatment options outlined in the paragraphs above. 

Start Working Towards Better Sleep

Typically, the best treatment for sleep apnea is a combination of professional care and lifestyle changes. Book an appointment with Dr. Saleema Adatia at Symmetry Dental & Sleep Apnea today to start working towards the sleep you deserve.

Dr. Saleema Adatia

Written by Dr. Saleema Adatia

Dr Adatia did her dental training at Tufts University in Boston MA and graduated in 2006.  Returning to her hometown of Calgary, Dr. Adatia worked as an associate for many years before starting Symmetry Dental.  

Dr. Adatia has focused her clinical practice to the dental management of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. She has completed extensive training in dental sleep therapy, including a residency at her alma mater, Tufts University, and multiple courses focused on evidence-based education and the medical aspects of sleep related breathing disorders.

Dr. Adatia is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, which focuses on training dentists on how to provide oral appliance therapy for people who suffer from sleep apnea.  She has also been involved in clinical trials investigating the effectiveness of novel technologies for the treatment of OSA.

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