Many people — and their partners — must cope with the effects of snoring. More than just an annoyance, it’s often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most common treatment for OSA is therapy with a CPAP machine, but Dr. William Harper, a respected dentist in Poquoson, VA (the Newport News/Hampton Roads area), can help with an alternative treatment in the form of an oral appliance that you wear while you sleep.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most commonly associated with being overweight. As the muscles relax during sleep, the soft tissues in the rear of the throat can collapse over the airway restricting airflow to the rest of the body. A sleeper with OSA often awakens multiple times overnight gasping for air, and tends to wake up feeling tired. He or she often falls asleep during the day, and can have issues with memory and concentration.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
Although CPAP therapy is the most common sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result without a mask and air tubes. Both are different ways of preventing the airway from collapsing 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 position their jaw so as to prevent the tissues in the mouth from relaxing. The appliance is durable enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so that even those patients can benefit from the device.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Harper meets with patients for an individual consultation in which the mouth is examined and Dr. Harper makes sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably. Although, the device repositions the jaw, but it’s designed to fit comfortably in the patient’s mouth, disrupting sleep as little as possible. Most patients report that the appliance is effective in reducing snoring, leading to better sleep and more energetic mornings!
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
The oral appliance is comfortable and effective is that it is custom-fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Harper discuss your needs with you, gather precise measurements and your mouth’s specific details to ensure the device is as comfortable as possible. It’s no good to stop your snoring only to have you wake up with sore jaw!Dr. Harper’s caring staff in the Hampton Roads/Newport News/Poquoson, VA area want to help you sleep soundly. Call 757.414.7227 or schedule an appointment online today.