If you snore when you sleep or often startle yourself awake overnight, you may have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is a serious medical condition that needs to be treated to avoid negative health outcomes. The most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, but Dr. V. Lynn Morgan and Dr. Alec S. Dancy offer an alternative treatment that helps patients have more restful sleep without a CPAP machine.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is associated with obesity or being overweight. As the muscles relax during sleep, extra tissues can obstruct the airway, restricting oxygen flow to the rest of the body. It’s not uncommon for the sleeper to wake up several hundred times per night gasping for air or to feel tired during the day and have problems with memory and concentration. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause cardiovascular problems and other diseases.
Q: Are there alternatives to sleep apnea treatment besides a CPAP machine?
Yes! Many dentists, like Dr. Morgan and Dr. Dancy, can fit you for an oral appliance to wear during sleep, and it keeps the airway open even as the muscles relax. The oral appliance itself is custom-fitted to your mouth and gently repositions the lower jaw, moving it forward to keep tissues from collapsing the airway. This provides a less invasive method of sleep apnea treatment than CPAP therapy, which provides a constant airflow in the form of a mask worn during sleep.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Your dentist will meet with you for an individual consultation to examine the mouth and design the mouthpiece for you. It does reposition the jaw while you sleep, but since it’s custom-fitted to your mouth, it will fit comfortably with minimal disruption to sleep. Most patients report a reduction in snoring while using the 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. Morgan or Dr. Dancy 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 Severna Park, MD wants to help you get better sleep. Call (410) 415-9015 or schedule an appointment online today.