Many people — and their partners — suffer from the effects of snoring. More than just a nuisance, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most common treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Melvin Benson of Integrated Dental Arts, a dentist in Greeley CO, can help with an alternative treatment in the form of an oral appliance to wear while you’re asleep. Dr. Benson is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and studied this specialty at the renowned Dawson Academy.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, most commonly develops as a side effect of obesity or excess weight but it can also stem from a crooked jaw or misaligned bite. As the muscles relax during sleep, soft tissues in the throat can relax and collapse over the airway, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The person often awakes multiple times during the night gasping for air, still feels tired despite length of time slept and falls asleep during the day, and has issues with memory and concentration.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
While CPAP therapy — a machine blowing oxygen rich air into the sleeper’s airway to hold the soft tissues back from collapsing — is the most common sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result.
Instead of a constant airflow keeping the airway open during sleep, the oral appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to keep the airway open. The device repositions the bottom jaw, pulling it forward to keep the soft tissue from blocking the airway. It’s also strong enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth-grinders can use the appliance.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Benson meets with patients for an individual consultation where they will examine your mouth and make sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably. Although the device repositions the jaw while you sleep, it’s designed to fit comfortably inside your mouth with as little disruption as possible. Most patients report the oral appliance works to reduce snoring, leading to better sleep, happier mornings and happier partners!
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes an oral device both effective and comfortable is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Benson 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. We don’t want you to stop snoring only to start waking up with a sore jaw!
Our caring staff at Integrated Dental Arts in Greeley CO wants to help you get better sleep. Call 970.281.5972 or schedule an appointment online today.