Can A Dentist Help With Sleep Apnea?

Millions of people — and their partners — suffer from the effects of snoring. Snoring is more than a mere nuisance, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Christopher Paulson, Dr Lindsay Holman and their team at Arbor Dental Associates in Novi MI 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 that are considered obese or overweight. Certain sleeping positions can cause the airway to become obstructed as the muscles relax during sleep, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper may awaken multiple times overnight gasping for air. This results in the individual waking up feeling tired, falling asleep during the day, and having issues with memory and concentration.

Q: Isn’t the only option for sleep apnea 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 through different means. Both provide different ways of keeping the airway open during sleep, when the soft tissue in the mouth are more relaxed.

However, instead of keeping the airway open during sleep with constant airflow, 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. The appliance is even 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. Paulson or Dr. Holman will meet with patients for an individual consultation where they will examine the mouth and make sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably. The device does reposition the jaw, but it’s designed to be comfortable and disrupt sleep as little as possible. Once using the appliance, most patients report a reduction in snoring, leading to better, better mornings and happier partners!

Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?

What makes a device like this comfortable and effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Paulson or Dr. Holman 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. It won’t do to help you stop snoring only to develop a sore jaw because of an improperly fitting device!

Our caring staff at Arbor Dental Associates in Novi MI wants to help you get better sleep. Call  (248) 553-9393 or schedule an appointment online today.

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