If you are keeping your partner awake with your snoring, have noticed that even when you get a “good night’s sleep” you are still fatigued, or have difficulty sleeping when hooked up to a CPAP machine, then a sleep appliance could be what you’ve been searching for. We treat many frustrated patients in our South Tahoe Dental office, finding solutions that will significantly improve your life.
A sleep appliance could be the answer to loud snoring, feeling fatigued, or if you’re using a CPAP, to feeling uncomfortable.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles supporting the soft palate relax, allowing the airway to narrow and close as you breathe in. When you sleep, you may relax enough that your airway closes too much, reducing the oxygen intake to your lungs.
When your brain registers the oxygen lack, your body startles enough for the muscle to tighten, clearing the airway, and often causing a choking or snorting noise. You may never even fully awaken, but the continuous disruption of the sleep cycle leads to extreme fatigue during waking hours.
You may have sleep apnea if:
- Have difficulty staying asleep
- Find yourself waking frequently with the need to urinate
- Feel fatigued throughout the day
- Have experienced unexplained weight gain
- Have attention problems
- Keep waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
- Have morning headaches
- Are depressed
If you’ve already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you may have been prescribed a CPAP machine. Many patients do not tolerate this machine well, as it requires a full facial mask and hoses to provide air pressure to keep your airway open.
Benefits of Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be treated successfully with the use of a comfortable oral appliance to wear while sleeping. In fact, recent studies are recommending an oral appliance as the first choice in the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea, due to non-compliance of patients provided with a CPAP unit.
An oral appliance can:
• Adjust the position of your jaw and tongue during sleep
• Prevent the tongue from relaxing back into the airway
• Provide a good night’s sleep
• Eliminate snoring, choking, or wheezing
The appliance will often open the airway enough to eliminate the necessity for the CPAP unit. Even for patients with severe sleep apnea, an appliance can reduce the level of pressure required by CPAP unit to let you sleep deeply.
What to Expect
The oral appliance is very similar to a retainer, and is custom designed for your mouth, teeth and oral cavity. Your South Lake Tahoe dentist can take the necessary measurements, impressions and molds, and send the models to the dental laboratory for construction. This device will comfortably open your airway and can be “fine-tuned” by our staff for your complete comfort.
You can bring your Sleep Study Results and the physician’s diagnosis with you for the consultation. Your medical insurance may cover all or part of the oral appliance. Eliminating dependence on a CPAP machine or removing the need for one completely can change your life and the lives of your loved ones.
If you believe you may be a candidate for an oral sleep apnea appliance, call our office at 530-541-1353 to schedule an appointment!