Many people — and their partners — suffer from the effects of snoring. More than just a nuisance, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most common treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. William Harper uses his extensive dental training to treat sleep apnea with an alternative treatment in the form of an oral appliance to wear while you’re asleep.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most commonly associated with obesity or excess weight. Certain sleep positions can obstruct the airway as the muscles relax during sleep, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper often awakes multiple times overnight gasping for air, wakes up feeling tired, falls asleep during the day, and has issues with memory and concentration.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
While CPAP therapy is the most common sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result. Both are different ways of keeping the airway open during sleep, when the soft tissue in the mouth are more relaxed.
Instead of a constant airflow keeping the airway open during sleep, as is the case with CPAP therapy, the oral appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to keep the airway open. The device repositions the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep the soft tissue from collapsing over the airway. It’s sturdy enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth-grinders can benefit from the device.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. X meets with patients for an individual consultation where they will examine the mouth and make sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably. The device does reposition the jaw, but it’s designed to fit comfortably inside the mouth with as little disruption to sleep as possible. Most patients report a reduction in snoring while using the oral appliance, leading to better sleep and happier mornings!
Q: Where can I go for dental sleep medicine?
What makes an oral device comfortable and effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Harper will meet with you to discuss your needs, gather precise measurements and your mouth’s specific details, and will work with you to make sure the device is as comfortable as possible. The last thing we want is for you to stop snoring but wake up with a sore jaw!
Our caring staff at Coastal Virginia Sleep Solutions wants to help you get better sleep. Call (757) 600-0861 or schedule an appointment online today.