Many people and, by association, their partners, suffer from the effects of snoring. More than just a bothersome noise, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a serious condition that disturbs that prevents proper, restful sleep and makes the diagnosed more likely to develop other serious health conditions. The most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Stacey Sparkman Hall, a dentist in Williamsburg, VA, can help with an alternative treatment in the form of oral appliance therapy, in which you wear a device to prevent OSA while you’re asleep.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most commonly associated with obesity or excess weight and is most commonly diagnosed in men, smokers and individuals over 50. Certain sleep positions can cause the sleeper’s airway to become blocked by throat tissues as the muscles relax during sleep. This restricts airflow to the rest of the body, preventing deep, restorative sleep. The person with OSA will often awaken multiple times overnight gasping for air and tends to wake up feeling tired the next morning. He or she may fall asleep during the day and have issues with memory and concentration.
Q: I thought the only treatment for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
While CPAP therapy is the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea, an oral appliance offers a similar result. Both are different ways of preventing the airway from collapsing during sleep, when the soft tissues in the mouth are more relaxed.
However, 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 tighten the muscles in their throat to keep the airway open by repositioning the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep. Williamsburg Center Dental Health uses the SomnoDent® MAS as its OSA treatment of choice. This sturdy appliance can even withstand bruxism (teeth grinding) so even patients with this habit can benefit from the device.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Hall 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 less snoring while using the oral appliance, leading to better sleep, more energy and happier partners!
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes an oral device comfortable and effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth so a dental appointment is necessary. Dr. Stacey Sparkman Hall will meet with you to discuss your needs, gather precise measurements of your mouth, and will work with you to make sure the final product is as comfortable as possible. The last thing we want is for you to for you to not get a good night’s sleep from your jaw hurting after solving your snoring problem!
Our caring staff at Williamsburg Center Dental Health in Williamsburg, VA want to help you get better sleep. Call 757.216.9873 or schedule an appointment online today.