Sleep apnea is a common yet serious sleep disorder. It often occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep. This results in episodes in which breathing is briefly paused multiple times per hour, depriving the brain of oxygen and leading to several daytime symptoms and long-term health complications if not treated.
How do you know you have sleep apnea? Your bed partner will likely be able to pinpoint your disorder if you are waking up gasping for air through the night and/or you snore loudly. However, if you sleep alone, here are some sleep apnea signs to watch out for:
- Abrupt awakenings
- Difficulty staying asleep
- Daytime fatigue
- Frequent dry mouth upon waking
- Morning headaches
- Difficulty concentrating
The CPAP Alternative
A CPAP machine (also known as a Positive Airway Pressure device) is the most common treatment for sleep apnea. However, not everyone is able to tolerate the machine during the night, or they may need therapy in addition to their CPAP machine.
Another less known but no less effective treatment for sleep apnea is Oral Appliance Therapy. Your dentist is the one to design and implement this form of therapy. A custom fit oral appliance has been approved by The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) as a first line of treatment for those with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Benefits of an Oral Appliance Versus CPAP
By wearing a custom mouthpiece while you sleep, your jaw can remain in a better, more open position so that your airway is not obstructed. This reduces snoring as well as prevents the cessations of breathing that sleep apnea induces. Oral appliances can offer the following advantages compared to a CPAP machine:
- More convenient
- More comfortable
- Portable (great for travel)
- Requires no electricity
- Easy to clean
- May allow wearer to talk or yawn during use
Dr. Wayne Suway of Marietta is a highly-trained dentist who has extensively studied sleep apnea treatment. He offers the Dorsal Appliance as an excellent alternative to CPAP. If you are struggling to find comfort in your CPAP machine but want to avoid the serious side effects of sleep apnea, call our office today to learn more about the Dorsal oral appliance.