Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment in Fitchburg

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep-breathing disorder characterized by breathing pauses that occur multiple times per hour during the night and are caused by a blocked or partially blocked airway. An estimated twenty-two million Americans suffer from the OSA condition, with 80 percent of suspected cases remaining undiagnosed. Dr. Brian McDowell and our team in Fitchburg want to offer safe and practical solutions to improve patients’ lives. Treating OSA in its earliest stages can help individuals embrace a better quality of life. Contact Brian C McDowell, DDS, to schedule an appointment and learn more.

What Causes Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The number one cause of obstructive sleep apnea is a blocked or partially blocked airway. When the throat muscles begin to relax while sleeping, they collapse and create an obstruction. As a result, it prevents adequate airflow. After 10 seconds of ceasing breathing, the oxygen within the body begins to lower, causing the brain to be triggered so that it will alert the body to wake.

This process can be subtle or significant depending on how long a person goes without breathing. Many patients experience one or even hundreds of episodes each night.

Signs & Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Knowing when you should see a doctor may not always be obvious, especially if you do not live with someone who can tell you if you snore or stop breathing at times throughout the night. However, if you or someone you love notices any of these issues, call Dr. Brian McDowell and our team at Brian C. McDowell, DDS, immediately. A team member will schedule an appointment so you can undergo a consultation, and we can determine the appropriate course of action. The symptoms of sleep apnea differ from individual to individual, but common symptoms you may be suffering from include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up due to interrupted breathing or gasping
  • Chronic daytime fatigue
  • Waking up with headaches
  • Frequent nighttime trips to the bathroom
  • Insomnia
  • A loss of sex drive
  • Irritability
  • The inability to concentrate

Types of Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

While suffering from obstructive sleep apnea might seem hopeless, the good news is that many types of treatment are available to improve your situation.

Oral Appliance Therapy

A popular option among sleep apnea sufferers is oral appliance therapy. Because of its portability, comfort, and convenience, it is easy to use, and individuals can experience great results. Customized according to each person’s oral and facial structures, they help to shift the jaw to prevent the collapse of the soft tissues, keeping the airway open at night.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

The continuous positive airway pressure system (CPAP) is one of the most widely-known and accepted forms of sleep apnea treatment. The CPAP device is worn to bed and requires a mask, tubing, and a machine that continually pushes air through the mask to keep the airway open.

Combination Therapy

Combination therapy incorporates both CPAP and oral appliance treatment. This method reduces the times a person wakes throughout the night due to ceased breathing. Because the CPAP’s pressure is not in the highest setting (because of the oral appliance’s ability to keep the area open), it minimizes the likelihood that patients will be bothered much by the machine’s noise. Also, should an individual need to travel, they can still achieve restful sleep by taking their more portable oral appliance.


One of the least common methods of treatment for OSA is surgery. In most cases, patients can achieve long-lasting results using any of the solutions mentioned above; however, if enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or other soft tissues are preventing adequate airflow, it may be necessary to undergo a surgical procedure to help alleviate symptoms.

Schedule A Consultation At Brian McDowell, DDS

Call our sleep apnea specialist at 978-252-2049 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Brian McDowell to be evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea. With 30+ years of experience, our office has treated patients for obstructive sleep apnea from Fitchburg, Lunenburg, Leominster, Westminster, Gardner, MA and many surrounding areas.

Read our dental news to learn about the relation between obstructive sleep apnea and bruxism, how sleep apnea affects your body, and more. You may also follow us on Facebook for more dental tips!

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