Effective, non-invasive dental solution for sleep apnea in Arden, NC
Sleep apnea is a very common condition that affects the sleep of millions of Americans every night, but many people don’t even know they have it. This harmful condition not only impacts the quality of your sleep but has also been linked to several serious health conditions. Fortunately, many patients can find relief and start sleeping better with a simple oral appliance. Dr. Christopher Port in Arden, NC explains more about this effective sleep apnea solution below.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a major health issue that can have dire consequences. There are multiple types of sleep apnea that have different underlying causes, but the most common type of sleep apnea is called “obstructive sleep apnea.” In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked during sleep due to the soft tissues of the mouth collapsing against the back of the throat or other blockages in the airway. When this happens, oxygen becomes unavailable to your brain and other vital organs in your body, and you may temporarily wake up, snort, or startle. At that point, normal breathing resumes until the airway becomes closed again, and the cycle repeats—sometimes up to a hundred of times per night.
Why is it harmful?
The result of this repetitive cycle is more than just the feeling that you didn’t get enough sleep at night. Other consequences of sleep apnea include:
- Snoring, which can disturb the sleep of your bed partner
- Stress on all parts of your body
- High blood pressure
- Heart failure
- Atrial fibrillation
- Type 2 diabetes
- Mood disorders such as depression
- Brain fog
- An increase in accidents due to fatigue
Diagnosing sleep apnea
If you think you might be suffering from sleep apnea, the first step is to see your doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms and order a sleep study that will be used to confirm whether you have the condition. Sleep studies can be done either at home or in a clinic, and your doctor can discuss which option is best for your specific case.
Sleep apnea solutions
The mainstay in sleep apnea treatment for many years was a machine called a CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure machine. It uses mild pressure to keep your airways open continuously while you sleep so that you do not become deprived of oxygen, but using the machine itself can be quite a burden and have several other negative effects on your sleep—and your partner’s. The machine is loud and requires the use of a face mask that can be cumbersome to use and sleep with, so many patients eventually abandon its use despite the negative impact that sleep apnea can have on their health.
A more modern dental approach to sleep apnea treatment is much simpler and more comfortable, but can be just as effective at combatting sleep apnea. A customized dental appliance, much like a sports mouthguard, is created specifically for your mouth based on impressions of your teeth and gums. While you sleep, it holds your lower jaw in a slightly forward position throughout the night to prevent your soft tissues from collapsing, which prevents your airway from becoming closed. An oral appliance for sleep apnea has several benefits. It:
- Prevents your airways from becoming closed without a bulky mask
- Does not need to be plugged in and does not make noise
- Is comfortable and custom-made
- Only needs to be worn while you sleep
Oral appliances can be a great choice for many patients with sleep apnea, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has given their approval for this type of appliance as a first-line therapy for patients who have mild to moderate forms of the condition. In patients with severe sleep apnea, a combination of a CPAP machine and an oral appliance can lead to better results.
Start sleeping better
If you are suffering from sleep apnea and looking for a good solution that does not involve an unwieldy CPAP machine, then we encourage you to call Asheville Smile Center to schedule a consultation with Dr. Port. He can help determine whether a sleep apnea oral appliance is a good option for you and answer any questions that you have about it so you feel confident that you are making the right decision. Call our Arden, NC office today at 828 585 4049!Back to Sleep Apnea Page