How Can My Dentist Help Sleep Apnea?

You don’t normally think of your dentist when you’re having trouble sleeping.  However, many dentists are now treating snoring and related issues. Millions of Americans — and their partners — are affected by snoring. Snoring is more than a noisy nuisance, it’s often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The most commonly prescribed therapy for OSA is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Bruce Spink, a dentist of Birmingham AL 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 commonly diagnosed in those individuals that are considered medically obese or overweight. If you are obese or overweight, some sleep positions allow the airways to become obstructed as the muscles relax during sleep, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper may awaken multiple times overnight gasping for air and be unable to achieve deep, healthy sleep. As a result of this constant wakefulness, the individual may be tired, falling asleep, and having issues with memory and concentration during the day.

Q: Isn’t sleep apnea treated with CPAP therapy? How does the oral appliance work?

Although CPAP therapy is the most commonly prescribed sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance can provide a similar solution through different means. Both therapies keep the airway open during sleep, when the soft tissue in the mouth are more relaxed.

However, instead of holding the airway open with a constant flow of air, as is the case with CPAP therapy, the oral appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth by Dr. Spink to keep the airway open.  The appliance repositions the bottom jaw, moving it forward to prevent the soft tissue from obstructing the airway. These appliances are even sturdy enough to stand up to use by individuals suffering from bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even these individuals can benefit from this progressive sleep apnea treatment.  Dr. Spink offers his patients the choice between the Somnodent and the Moses Appliance and can review the specifics of the different appliances to you at your consultation.

Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance to use?

Dr. Spink will meet with patients for an individual consultation where he and his team will examine the mouth and make sure you’re fitted correctly and comfortably. The device physically repositions your jaw, but it’s designed to allow you to sleep as comfortably as possible. Once using the appliance, most patients report a reduction in snoring, allowing them to have better mornings and happier partners!

Q: Do I have to make an appointment with a dentist to get it?

What makes these appliances effective is how they are fitted to the individual patient’s mouth. Dr. Spink 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 the device is as comfortable as possible. We don’t want you to cause yourself jaw pain to stop snoring.

Our caring staff at at our Birmingham AL office want to help you get better night’s sleep. Call 205.235.5043 or schedule an appointment online today.