Millions of people — and their partners — suffer from the effects of chronic snoring. But snoring is more than just a noisy nuisance, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is nightly use of a CPAP machine, but Dr. John C. Cranham of Chesapeake, VA, can help with an alternative treatment method in the form of an oral appliance to prevent snoring and OSA.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most commonly associated with obesity or excess weight. It is also observed more frequently among smokers and those who routinely drink alcohol. Research shows that over 50% of elderly men and women suffer from OSA. OSA occurs when muscles relax during sleep, allowing tissues at the back of the throat to collapse over the airway, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. This lack of proper oxygen while sleeping causes the patient to awake multiple times overnight gasping for air, wake up feeling tired, and he or she may have issues with drowsiness during the day, and may have 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 is the most commonly prescribed sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result without the uncomfortable mask. Both are means of keeping your airway open during sleep, when the soft tissues in the throat are more relaxed.
However, instead of a constant airflow pumped through a mask by a machine, keeping the airway open during sleep, as is the case with CPAP therapy, oral appliances are custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth structure to position the bottom jaw to keep the airway open. These devices are even durable enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Cranham meets with patients for an individual consultation where they will examine the mouth and make sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably with one of our sleep appliances that best meets your needs and budget. Although these devices do usually reposition the jaw, they’re specially designed to fit comfortably inside the mouth to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report a reduction in snoring while using an oral appliance, which leads to better sleep and happier mornings!
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes an oral device comfortable and effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Cranham 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 your device is as comfortable as possible. The last thing we want is for you to stop snoring but wake up with a sore jaw!
Those patients who are fitted with one of these sleep apnea appliances will need to have it checked shortly afterward to make certain that it is working. Adjustments or periodic replacements may sometimes be necessary.
Stop Snoring in Chesapeake, VA
The caring staff at our Chesapeake, VA office wants to help you get better sleep. Call 757.656.4109 or schedule a complimentary consultation online.