Get Effective Relief Without Using CPAP
A lot of people cannot tolerate a CPAP. Many of our patients in Swansea tell us it’s loud and affects their ability to sleep. Breathing through a mask all night makes some of them feel claustrophobic.
That’s why Dr. Wilson treats sleep apnea using oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is a small device that’s worn while you sleep to relieve sleep apnea symptoms.
If you or a loved one is suffering from sleep apnea, we’ll make sure you get the correct diagnosis and the treatment that’s right for you at Corner Stone Dental.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes you to stop breathing several times each night during sleep. When left untreated, OSA makes patients more vulnerable to life-threatening medical conditions.
When you have OSA, excess tissue blocks your airway, causing you to stop breathing several times each night while sleeping. When these episodes occur, your body will momentarily wake you up so you can resume breathing.
People with OSA often don’t even remember waking up throughout the night. Many times, it’s your spouse or sleeping partner who first notices your heavy snoring or hears you gasping for breath while sleeping.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
If you encounter the following symptoms in yourself or a loved one, it’s important to seek treatment right away:
- Morning headaches
- Daytime fatigue
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Restless sleep
- Reduced libido
Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
When left untreated, OSA can lead to serious health conditions. By reducing the amount of oxygen in your blood, OSA damages your heart and other vital organs. This increases your chances of suffering from high blood pressure, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, and liver problems. The daytime drowsiness associated with sleep apnea also makes patients more likely to be injured in an automobile accident.
Sleep apnea impacts all types of people, but the following risk factors make you even more likely to suffer from OSA:
- Have excess weight — A patient’s body mass index (BMI) and OSA are linked, with the condition commonly occurring in overweight people. Even bodybuilders who intentionally put on weight are at risk for sleep apnea.
- Have a large neck — People with thicker necks have narrower airways. If you’re neck circumference measures more than 17 inches for men or 15 inches for women, you may be at risk.
- Are male —Men are more likely to develop sleep apnea than women.
- Use alcohol, sedatives, or tranquilizers — When you use these substances before bed, they can cause your throat muscles to relax.
- Smoke — If you smoke, you’re almost three times more likely to have OSA.
- Are older — The risk of sleep apnea increases with age.
Alternatives to CPAP That Work
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It’s the most common form of sleep apnea treatment. It works by delivering a steady flow of warm air into your mouth through a mask that’s worn over the face.
CPAP is effective when used properly, but a lot of people stop using CPAP because it can be a hassle to use. An oral appliance keeps your airway open so you can breathe comfortably throughout the night, providing the same benefits as CPAP. We feature several options — our dentist will find the oral appliance that’s right for you.
TAP® 3 (Thornton Adjustable Positioner)
Dr. Wilson’s preferred appliance! TAP appliance has proven clinical studies that back up its success.
This latest model of the TAP (Thornton Adjustable Positioner) is the smallest and most comfortable version yet. It’s a two-part custom sleep apnea appliance that fits over your teeth, similar to a sports mouthguard. The device moves your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open while you sleep.
The lower jaw positioner is adjustable for your comfort and it can accommodate the three main types of malocclusions, allowing your lips to fully close.
Alongside the use of an oral appliance, your dentist may suggest some changes that can elevate the effectiveness of your treatment. These changes may involve exercising more often, altering your diet, or taking measures to adjust your sleeping position.
Frequently Asked Questions
The most noticeable symptom of sleep apnea is loud and consistent snoring. While not all snoring means you have sleep apnea, we recommend undergoing a sleep test to make sure your snoring isn’t harming you. Other signs of sleep apnea include excessive daytime fatigue, morning headaches, and gasping for air during sleep.
There usually isn’t one main cause of sleep apnea. It’s often a combination of factors that lead to sleep apnea causing trouble for you. The most common causes of sleep apnea are excess weight, the structure of your throat, sleeping on your back, and drinking alcohol or using other sedatives before sleep.
The three types of sleep apnea are:
- Obstructive sleep apnea: Your airway becomes physically blocked while asleep
- Central sleep apnea: Your brain and body have difficulty communicating about breathing
- Complex sleep apnea: A combination of the two other types of sleep apnea
It’s very important to determine which type of sleep apnea you have because they require different treatment methods.