Sleep apnea is one of the most under-diagnosed health problems in American adults. One of the most common sleep apnea symptoms is snoring — although not everyone who snores has sleep apnea — and there are several different options available to help. Did you know that dentists can actually help with sleep apnea? Dr. James P. Furgurson and Dr. Nathan O. White are Chapel Hill, NC dentists who help treat sleep apnea with custom-fitted oral appliances.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with obesity or excess weight, but OSA can occur in people of a healthy weight too. Certain sleep positions can obstruct the airway as muscles relax during sleep, which restricts airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper might wake up multiple times gasping for air, fall asleep during the day, or even have memory and concentration problems.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
Your dentist can fit you with an oral appliance, sometimes called a snore guard, that helps keep the airway open during sleep. Unlike a CPAP machine, which creates a constant airflow to keep the airway open, an oral appliance gently repositions the lower jaw. This keeps soft tissue from collapsing over the airway during sleep.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Furgurson and Dr. White meet with patients for individual consultations where they will examine your mouth and design the snore guard for your measurements. While the device does reposition the jaw, it’s designed to fit comfortably inside the mouth to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report a reduction in snoring.
Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?
What makes the device effective and comfortable is how well it’s fitted to your mouth. It’s important to see a dentist to get accurate measurements so you don’t do any damage to the mouth or risk a device not working as well as it should. We’ll work with you to make it as comfortable as possible.
Our caring staff at Chapel Hill Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can help you get better sleep. Call us at (919) 213-9767 or request an appointment online today.