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Sleep Apnea: A Non-invasive Treatment Option

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MIIf you suffer from sleep apnea, you likely want a treatment that will improve your sleep, leave you with more energy and improve your health in general. Unfortunately, some highly effective sleep apnea treatments are not appealing to patients. They often complain that wearing a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask is just as disruptive to their sleep as the apnea is. Surgery to remove excess tissue may be another option, but patients may be reluctant to pursue such an invasive procedure.

Your dentist may not be the first healthcare provider that you think to turn to for a sleep problem, but with their extensive knowledge of structures of the jaw and oral cavity, these practitioners are actually well-suited to provide sleep apnea treatment. In fact, a dentist can design a custom-made oral appliance to reduce the structural issues that lead to apneic episodes.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when soft tissues at the back of the throat collapse during sleep and cover up the airway opening. The patient stops breathing for a very brief period, and the amount of oxygen flowing through the body decreases. Because this happens repeatedly, the patient does not get a complete night’s worth of rest and may still feel drowsy upon waking, in addition to suffering other symptoms like frequent morning headaches or sore throats.

When a dentist designs an oral appliance to prevent sleep apnea, the goal is to eliminate the likelihood that the soft tissues can cover up the airway opening. Therefore, oral appliance therapy may hold either the jaw or the tongue in a forward position throughout the night.

Because the oral appliances are custom-fitted, they are quite comfortable and patients often forget they are even wearing the device. This improves compliance with the therapy and increases the chances of symptom relief.

Sleep apnea isn’t just a quality of life issue, either. This condition appears to be related to serious health problems, such as stroke, high blood pressure and obesity. Getting effective sleep apnea treatment can be a life-saving endeavor. First, you should confirm the diagnosis if you have sleep apnea symptoms. You can do this by completing a sleep study. Then, you can pursue treatment by setting up an evaluation at our office.

Oral Appliance Therapy to Treat Sleep Apnea

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MISleep apnea is a condition where sleep is interrupted throughout the night due to a collapse of soft oral and/or throat tissue that blocks the airway. This can occur a few times per night or many, many times. The brain may be deprived of oxygen so patients suffering from the symptoms of sleep apnea should investigate their options for sleep apnea treatment. 

Your dentist is a great place to start … oral appliance therapy works through the use of a mouthguard fabricated to reposition your jaw designed to prevent tissues from collapsing. Wearing an oral appliance is much easier and more convenient than other treatment methods.

Many patients may not even be aware that they are suffering from sleep apnea. Some symptoms include snoring (but this alone is not definitive … many people snore without suffering from sleep apnea); daytime sleepiness; awakening with a headache, sore throat, and/or a dry mouth; or noticeable mood changes. A partner may observe things such as abrupt awakening with a choking or gasping sound.

Patients suffering from sleep apnea may realize additional relief by losing weight, daily exercise, not smoking, sleeping on one’s side, and limiting or eliminating caffeinated beverages past mid-afternoon. Another mistake patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea make is taking sleep aids or using alcohol to try to relax before bed. These actually exacerbate the problem by relaxing oral tissues that are blocking the airway.

Sleep apnea should not be taken lightly; high blood pressure, heart health, and stroke are just a few of the serious issues sleep apnea can contribute to … a definitive diagnosis may require a sleep study.

A consultation with our dentist is recommended if you feel you may be dealing with sleep apnea. A customized oral appliance will be fabricated specifically for you. If you are experiencing symptoms, contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 as soon as possible to discuss your options to finally resolve sleep apnea concerns.

Do I have sleep apnea if I snore?

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MIHas your family and loved ones complained of your snoring? Perhaps you have heard about sleep apnea and its symptoms. Snoring is one of a few common sleep apnea symptoms. While snoring can certainly indicate a risk for sleep apnea, not all people who snore have sleep apnea. The best way to determine if you need sleep apnea treatment is to schedule a consultation with our dentist. At your appointment, we will perform a physical evaluation, take X-rays, and help make arrangements for you to have a sleep study so that you can receive an accurate diagnosis.

What is sleep apnea exactly?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that involves breathing cessation during rest. Caused by airway obstruction, episodes of apnea can last for about a minute until the brain recognizes that breathing has stopped. To reinitiate the breathing cycle, the brain will send waking signals to rouse the sleeper. Even though the sleeper wakes slightly, it is enough of a disruption to stop the natural progression through each stage of sleep. Cycles of apnea and wakefulness can occur hundreds of times in an eight-hour sleeping period. Sleep apnea causes sleep deprivation over time because it prevents a person from achieving the rejuvenation he or she needs to function optimally.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Symptoms can vary but some of the most common include persistent fatigue, memory loss, irritability, and depression. Some folks wake up with dry mouth and headaches, too. Many times, patients don’t notice that they might have a sleep disorder. It is often a person’s bed partner noticing a sleeper wake up gasping for air that precipitates the need for treatment consultation.

What kind of sleep apnea treatment do you offer?

Our practice provides oral appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea. While surgical and CPAP treatment are two other common options, oral appliance therapy is well-liked by patients because it is quiet, comfortable, and easily portable. This type of treatment involves wearing a mouthguard-like appliance that slightly pushes the lower jaw forward to widen the airway.

Contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today to reserve a sleep apnea consultation with our dentist.

Sleep Apnea: Looking for a CPAP Alternative?

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MISleep apnea is a condition where an individual suffers from their soft oral tissues collapsing during periods of sleep that block their airway … this results in the potential of oxygen deprivation to the brain and numerous interruptions every night that prevent the patient from getting a good night’s rest.

There are different sleep apnea treatments, but a visit to see your dentist for a solution may provide the most comfortable option that will be a wonderful alternative to the bulky, noisy, and uncomfortable CPAP you may be using.

Since sleep apnea occurs during periods of sleep, your dentist can fabricate a customized oral appliance that you can easily slip in for a quick nap or when you retire for the night. It resembles a clear mouth guard; and since your dentist will customize it to fit your specific needs, it will be comfortable and can be modified until it fits perfectly.

This oral appliance works by slightly repositioning the lower jaw forward preventing soft oral tissues from collapsing and obstructing airways so the patient can breathe properly during sleep. Without a sleep aid, the patient can experience sleep interruptions up to hundreds of times every night.

The dangers of sleepless nights are obvious … extreme daily fatigue can interfere with your job and things we take for granted like driving a car. Over time, overall health and oral health can be in serious jeopardy.

If you are already using CPAP, you have likely received a diagnosis of sleep apnea. But for those patients that suspect they may be suffering from sleep apnea, a confirmed diagnosis usually requires a formal sleep study be performed.

But if you believe sleep apnea is robbing you of a good night’s sleep, a visit with your dentist is a good place to start. A customized oral appliance will not do any harm, and may be just what is needed to restore your ability to get an uninterrupted night’s rest.

Other tips to help include sleeping on your side (difficult to do with CPAP); avoid caffeine; and do not drink alcohol or take sleep aids as they further relax those tissues that contribute to sleep apnea.

A good night’s sleep is something many take for granted … a custom made oral appliance may be all you need to enjoy sleeping well again.

For more information, contact the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today.

Sleep Apnea: Causes and Treatment

sleep apnea treatment Battle Creek MIObstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that can go undetected and untreated for a long time. This is because the condition’s effects occur during rest. Fortunately, more people are getting sleep apnea treatment since public awareness of the condition has increased.

Although sleep apnea is hard for the individual to detect, one can look out for some symptoms. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include waking with dry mouth and headaches, fatigue even after what seems like a full night of rest, excessive snoring, irritability, and memory loss. Our dentist offers sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

OSA is caused by tissue in the oral cavity blocking the airway during sleep. This blockage can be a result of bulky throat tissues caused by oral abnormalities or excessive weight. Sometimes apnea can be exacerbated by smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking certain medications like antihistamines or sedatives.

When the airway is compromised, patients are not able to breathe properly because they are sleeping. As breathing ceases (apnea), the brain signals the body to wake slightly so that breathing can be resumed. These cycles of apnea followed by wakefulness can occur hundreds of times throughout the night. The cycle of apnea and wakefulness causes sleep deprivation because it prevents people from progressing through each phase of sleep. Over time, untreated apnea will affect a person’s energy levels and overall wellbeing.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

There are few ways to treat OSA. Sleep apnea treatment involves both surgical and non-invasive methods. In the past, the most common treatment protocol was the use of CPAP machines. These machines emit a stream of air into the oral cavity to keep the airway clear. While this treatment is effective, it can dry out the mouth and prevent patients from sleeping because the machinery can be noisy and its accessories bulky.

The most comfortable option for sleep apnea treatment is oral appliance therapy. This involves patients wearing a custom oral appliance that resembles a small mouthguard. This appliance will widen the airway by positioning the jaw forward.

Oral appliance therapy is comfortable, affordable, and portable. Call the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today to reserve a consultation with our dentist.