Millions of Americans — and their partners — suffer from the effects of snoring. More than just a nuisance, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that can have serious repercussions for your health. The most common treatment for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Richard W. Van Gurp of Van Gurp Cosmetic General Implant Dentistry, a dental provider in Charlotte, NC, can help with an alternative treatment in the form of an oral appliance to wear while you’re asleep.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most often diagnosed in individuals that are considered medically obese or at least carrying extra weight. For these individuals, sleeping in some positions can lead to the airways becoming obstructed as the muscles relax during sleep. This slackened tissue restricts airflow to the rest of the body which can have negative effects on the sleeper. He or she may awaken multiple times during the night gasping for air and usually wakes up still feeling tired. They may lapse into sleep during the day, or have issues with concentration or their memory.
Q: Isn’t the only option for sleep apnea CPAP therapy? How does the oral appliance work?
While CPAP therapy is the most common sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result. Both are different ways of achieving the same objective: keeping the airway open during sleep, when the soft tissue in the mouth are most relaxed.
Instead of a constant airflow keeping the airway open during sleep, as is the case with CPAP therapy, the oral appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to position it in such a way as to keep the airway open. Another benefit of the appliance is that it’s strong enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth-grinders can benefit from the device.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Van Gurp meets with patients for an individual consultation where they will examine the mouth and make sure your appliance fits correctly and comfortably. The device repositions the jaw, but it is custom-fitted by Dr. Van Gurp to fit comfortably inside the mouth to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report a reduction in snoring and better sleep while using the oral appliance.
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes this oral appliance especially comfortable while also being effective is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth and their needs. Dr. Van Gurp will meet with you to discuss your needs, gather precise measurements of your mouth, and will work with you to make sure the device is as comfortable as possible..
Our caring staff at Van Gurp Dentistry in Charlotte, NC wants to help you get better sleep. Call (704) 209-9606 or schedule an appointment online today.