If you’ve been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) or struggle with complications due to snoring, you may consider using an oral appliance at night. Patients dealing with sleep apnea have several options available, and a highly-customized oral appliance may help stop snoring and treat sleep apnea. Dr. Richard Van Gurp of Carolina Sleep Solutions in Charlotte, NC has advanced training in oral appliances to treat sleep apnea.
Q: What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is most commonly associated with excess weight or obesity. Muscles relax during sleep, and excess fat tissue can obstruct the airway and make it more difficult to breathe. Certain sleep positions make this effect more pronounced, such as sleeping on the back or side.
Men also are more likely to suffer from sleep apnea due to the Adam’s apple impeding airflow as the muscles relax during sleep, but the disorder is not limited to men.
The sleeper often stops breathing, wakes up multiple times gasping for air, feels tired all day, or even has issues with memory or concentration. Simply put, sleep apnea doesn’t just affect sleep — it can affect every part of a patient’s life and severely impact quality of life.
Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?
While a common sleep apnea treatment is indeed CPAP therapy, a dental sleep device achieves a similar effect. Both CPAP therapy and the sleep device keep the airway open during sleep, when the soft tissues around the mouth are more relaxed.
The appliance is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to keep the airway open. It’s a less invasive way to treat sleep apnea, as it’s a simple device that fits in the mouth instead of a machine with tubes and filters to worry about. The device repositions the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep soft tissue from blocking the airway. It’s sturdy enough to withstand teeth grinding, so even people who struggle with teeth grinding can benefit from this form of treatment.
Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?
Dr. Van Gurp meets with patients individually for a customized consultation. After taking precise measurements, he will ensure you’re fitted correctly. While the device does reposition the jaw, it’s designed to do so in a comfortable manner so as not to disrupt sleep. Most patients report a reduction in snoring, leading to better sleep for themselves and their loved ones!
Dr. Van Gurp and his caring, expert staff in Charlotte, NC wants to help you get better sleep. Call 704-746-3160 to schedule a free screening or schedule online today!