What Dentists Do for Sleep Apnea

The Comfortable Way to Stop Snoring

Is there a motorbike in the room? Is someone sawing logs? Snoring is an agitating sound. You seldom hear your own snoring, but you certainly hear others doing it when you try to fall asleep! This understandably causes frustration and annoyance. Sadly, snoring is often a byproduct of a more serious problem called sleep apnea. Essentially, a person with sleep apnea is suffocating just a little bit, repeatedly throughout the night. They constantly interrupt their sleep as they awaken ever so slightly to unblock their airways.

The ongoing interruption of the normal sleep cycle results in sleep deprivation with all of its ramifications. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to life-threatening complications. Fortunately, the dentists at the Placerville Dental Group can help with moderate cases of sleep apnea! But first, let’s discuss the typical non-dental treatment for this disorder.

What is CPAP?

Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) treatment is a staple to help patients cope with sleep apnea. The method requires an air pressure pump connected to a mask you wear via a hose. The pump forces a flow of air through the patient’s nose and throat via the mask. This usually allows for unobstructed breathing during sleep. While using the device, a patient breathes normally, reaches REM sleep, and has a restful night. Of course, some people can’t get used to the CPAP machine, and then this treatment is not much of a solution.

Despite advances that make pumps quieter and masks more comfortable, many patients don’t like wearing a mask and hose to bed or dealing with cleaning and maintaining the pump. What’s more, many patients find that once they become accustomed to the device, they cannot sleep without it. That means travelling with the equipment wherever they stay overnight. Many patients who use a CPAP device stop using it in less than a year due to issues like these. Nevertheless, they still need help to keep their airways open! Are there any alternatives?

Hold your OAT!

This is where the Placerville Dental Group comes in. We offer an alternative treatment called Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT for short). The oral appliance is made of comfortable plastic and works like a mouthguard. The appliance moves the lower jaw forward while you sleep, opening your airway without any mechanical devices or surgery.

To use an OAT device, you first consult with one of our dentists. We examine your case and speak with the specialist or doctor monitoring your symptoms, if possible. If OAT would benefit you, we make a custom device based on your teeth and jaws. When the appliance is complete, we explain how to use it at night, and cleaning it in the morning.

With OAT, you don’t have an air pump next to your head. There are no hoses, no masks, and no limits! If you would like to get more information about OAT and whether it might work for you, please schedule a consultation online or call the Placerville Dental Group.

Mar 7, 2019 | Oral Health


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