Millions of Americans suffer from the effects of snoring. More than just a disturbance to your sleep, snoring is often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most common treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Russell Street Dental Associates, a dental practice in Worcester, MA, can help with an alternative treatment in the form of an oral appliance that prevents snoring and it’s detrimental effects on your sleep and health.
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 can a dentist help stop snoring?
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 tissues in the mouth are more relaxed.
Instead of a constant airflow keeping the airway open during sleep – which is how a CPAP machine treats sleep apnea – 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. Gauthier 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: 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 shape of the individual patient’s mouth. We will meet with you to discuss your needs, gather precise measurements of your mouth, and will work with you to make sure the device is as comfortable as possible. Although we want to help stop your snoring, we don’t want to give you jaw pain in the process.
Our caring staff at Russell Street Dental Associates in Worcester, MA wants to help you get better sleep. Call (508) 687-6579 or schedule an appointment online today.