Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that many people do not seek treatment for. More than just snoring, sleep apnea is a serious health condition that needs to be treated to not only improve sleep quality, but lower the risk of many serious health problems. While sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP machine, dentists can use customized oral appliances for you to wear during sleep.
Dr. Brenda Paulen leads Proudsmiles, a health-centered dental practice in Sandy Springs, GA. Dr. Paulen offers personalized dental care in a comfortable, welcoming environment and wants to help you get better sleep.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is commonly associated with excess weight or obesity, but this is not always the cause. Certain sleep positions may obstruct the airway as the muscles relax during sleep, which reduces the body’s air supply. The sleeper may awake multiple times gasping for air without knowing, wake up feeling tired, or even have issues with concentration and memory.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
An oral appliance offers a similar result to CPAP therapy, as both are ways to keep the airway open during sleep when soft tissue in the mouth is more relaxed. Instead of a constant airflow keeping the airway open, like a CPAP does, the oral appliance adjusts the bottom jaw to keep the soft tissue from collapsing over the airway. It’s sturdy enough to withstand teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth grinders can benefit from it.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Paulen individually consults with patients, where she 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 individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Paulen 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 Proudsmiles in Atlanta, GA wants to help you get better sleep. Call (404) 418-7734 or schedule an appointment online today.