Get Relief with Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep apnea affects millions of Americans, yet many are unaware they even have the condition. Sleep Apnea is a serious condition that negatively affects the quality of sleep and puts patients at risk for severe health conditions. While common, the condition often goes unnoticed until patients are made aware of their excessive snoring from a partner. The good news is that you can get relief from a simple oral appliance. At Pearl Dental Care in Hamden, Connecticut, we help many patients find relief from snoring and sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
While there are several different types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the one we most frequently come across. With obstructive sleep apnea, the patient’s airway becomes partially or fully blocked when the muscles in the back of the mouth collapse, prohibiting the ability to breathe normally. The abrupt stopping and starting of breathing cause the brain and other organs to be deprived of oxygen. The episodes also suddenly cause patients to awake, and normal breathing resumes. A person with sleep apnea can experience hundreds of these episodes every single night.
The negative impact of sleep apnea
Aside from daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can have a profound impact on total wellness, increasing the risk of the following:
- Disruptive snoring
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Failure
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Depression and Anxiety
- An increased threat of accidents due to fatigue
Diagnosing sleep apnea
If you have noticed that you wake up feeling completely exhausted or your partner has indicated that your snoring is frequently disrupting your sleep, it may be time for a sleep apnea evaluation. Your doctor will request a sleep study to be done at home or in a clinic to determine if you have sleep apnea.
Finding relief from sleep apnea
The most common treatment for sleep apnea in the past was a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. The machines are extremely effective at keeping the airway open to ensure that your body is not deprived of oxygen. The downside is the burden of using the device itself. CPAP machines can be bulky, requiring the use of a face mask that many patients find cumbersome to sleep with. The machine can also be loud, impacting your sleep or your partner’s. In the end, many patients discontinue using the CPAP machine and continue to suffer from the negative effects of sleep apnea.
From a dental perspective, we can offer a more comfortable alternative to the CPAP machine. Custom oral appliances can be just as effective at treating sleep apnea without the bulky, loud CPAP machine. Like a sports mouthguard, dental sleep apnea appliances keep the lower jaw positioned slightly forward to prevent the soft tissue from blocking the airway, allowing you to maintain normal breathing. The oral appliance is created specifically for your mouth from digital dental 3D cameras. The appliance has an adjustable track that allows the jaw protrusion to be increased or decreased.
The benefits of oral appliance therapy include the following:
- Keeps airway open without the need for a CPAP mask
- It is custom-made and adjustable
- It only needs to be worn at night while sleeping
- Does not make a loud noise
“Since wearing the sleep apnea appliance that Dr. Scott Pearl made me, I wake up more rested and I went from having 2 nightmares a week to just 1 in the last 3 months.”
– Linda, Pearl Dental Care patient
Upper and lower arches are connected via a metal hinge that protrudes the mandible forward.
Upper and lower arches are separate; Control of the lower jaw position is achieved by the adjustable ramps on the upper tray.