Millions of people — and their partners — suffer from the effects of snoring. More than just an annoying noise, it can often be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most common treatment for OSA is CPAP therapy with a mask and machine but Dr. Melvin Benson of Integrated Dental Arts in Greeley, CO, can help with an alternative treatment in the form of an oral appliance to wear while you’re asleep.
Dental sleep medicine is a specialty of Dr. Benson, allowing him to diagnose and treat sleep related disorders, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Dr. Benson trained at the world-renowned Dawson Academy in order to develop a comprehensive approach to treatment, addressing the causes of the condition as well as the symptoms.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Although OSA can be seen in men, women and children of all ages and body types, it is more common among men, overweight people and those with hypertension and diabetes. Sleep apnea occurs when the sleeper’s airway becomes blocked by excess tissue as the muscles relax during sleep. The sleeper may have difficulty staying asleep, achieving deep sleep and may awaken multiple times throughout the night, gasping for air. He or she may awake feeling tired, may feel drowsy or fall asleep during the day, and may have issues with their memory and concentration.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
While CPAP therapy is the most commonly-prescribed sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance can offer a similar result without the need for a mask or machine. Both therapies are different ways of keeping the airway open during sleep, when the soft tissues in the mouth are more relaxed.
With CPAP therapy, the machine blows a constant stream of air into the sleeper’s airway. While, the oral appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to position the sleeper’s jaw in such as way as to keep the airway open. It moves the bottom jaw, preventing the soft tissue from collapsing over the airway. It’s also sturdy enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, which often goes “hand-in-hand” with sleep disorders so even nighttime teeth-grinders can utilize the device.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Benson meets with patients for an individual consultation in which they will examine the patient’s mouth to make sure their appliance is fitted correctly and comfortably. The device does reposition the sleeper’s jaw, but is specifically designed to fit comfortably inside the mouth to not disturb sleep. Most patients and their partners report a reduction in snoring, better sleep and happier mornings once they have been consistently using the oral appliance!
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes this oral appliance so effective yet comfortable is how well it’s fitted to your 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. It’s important that the device is comfortable since Dr. Benson wants to improve your sleep.
Our caring staff at Integrated Dental Arts wants to help you get better sleep. Call 970.281.5972 or schedule an appointment online today.