Millions of people and their partners deal with poor sleep due to snoring problems. Snoring is more than just a nuisance. It is often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a potentially life-threatening condition. The most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Albert Caves, a dentist in Columbus, GA, can help 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 diagnosed in those with excess weight. Certain sleep positions can cause the airway to become obstructed as the muscles relax during sleep, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper with OSA will often awake multiple times during the night, gasping for air and will wake up feeling tired. He or she may fall asleep during the day, and have 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 commonly prescribed sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance can provide a similar result. Both keep the airway of the patient open while sleeping when the soft tissues in the mouth are more relaxed but in different ways.
Instead of a constant flow of air pumped in through a mask 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 prevent the soft tissue from obstructing the airway. It’s durable enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth-grinders can use this therapy.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Caves meets with patients for an individual consultation where they will examine the mouth and make sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably. Although the appliance does reposition the jaw, it’s designed to fit comfortably inside the mouth in order to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report less snoring and better sleep while using the oral appliance.
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes an oral device both effective yet also comfortable is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Caves 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 that your appliance is as comfortable as possible.
Our caring staff at Caves Family & Cosmetic Dentistry in Columbus, GA wants to help you get better sleep. Call (706) 407-4851 or schedule an appointment online today.