Snoring is more than just a nuisance to sleepers and their partners. In fact, snoring is often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a serious condition that can lead to a host of health problems.
A common treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, but Jacksonville FL dentist Dr. Don Alexander offers a dental treatment for sleep apnea. An oral appliance to wear while you’re asleep can keep the airway open and help you get better sleep and better quality of life.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
OSA is often associated with obesity or excess weight, but certain sleeping positions can contribute to its symptoms. As the muscles relax during sleep, excess soft tissue or certain sleeping positions obstruct the airway, restricting airflow to the rest of the body.
Someone with sleep apnea wakes up multiple times overnight gasping for air, and often wakes up with dry mouth. They also have trouble concentrating, remembering things, or even falls asleep easily throughout the day.
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. Alexander meets with patients for an individual consultation where he 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.
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. Alexander 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 in Jacksonville, FL wants to help you get better sleep. Call 904.901.4302 or schedule an appointment online today.