FAQ: How Your Dentist Can Help With Sleep Apnea

dentist arlington heights vaStudies indicate that about a half a million adults suffer from snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), making them two of the most common sleep disorders. Aside from preventing someone from getting a good night’s sleep, snoring and/or sleep apnea are also accompanied by serious health risks and have been associated with both cardiovascular and systemic disease. The most commonly prescribed treatment for OSA is CPAP therapy, but Dr. Brent Engelberg of AH Smiles, a dental practice in Arlington Heights, IL, offers an alternative treatment for snoring and OSA in the form of a custom fit snore guard to wear while you’re asleep.

Q: What causes sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is most commonly associated with obesity or excess weight and is also more commonly seen in men. Excess tissue in the back of the throat can obstruct the airway as the muscles relax during sleep, restricting airflow to the rest of the body. The sleeper may awaken multiple times throughout the night, gasping for air. He or she wakes up feeling tired, may fall asleep during the day, and have issues with memory and concentration.

Q: I thought the only option for sleep apnea was CPAP therapy. How does the oral appliance work?

While CPAP therapy, which uses a machine to pump air through a mask and down into the sleeper’s airway, is still the most common sleep apnea treatment, an oral appliance offers a similar result. Both methods prevent the airway from collapsing during sleep but the sleep appliance is generally considered to be more comfortable.

The device is custom-fitted to the patient’s mouth to be comfortable while keeping the airway open. The oral appliance repositions the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep the soft tissue from collapsing over the airway. It’s even made strong enough to withstand bruxism, or teeth grinding, so even nighttime teeth-grinders can benefit from the therapeutic benefits of the appliance.

Q: How comfortable is a sleep apnea oral appliance?

Dr. Engelberg meets with patients for an individual consultation where he will examine the mouth to ensure a comfortable fit. The device does reposition the jaw, but it’s designed to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report less snoring, better sleep and happier mornings after consistently using the oral appliance.

Q: Do I have to see a dentist to get it?

What makes an oral device both effective and comfortable is how well it’s fitted to the individual patient’s mouth by your dentist. Dr. Engelberg 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 for you as possible. We know that the more comfortable the device, the more likely our patients are to wear them to bed every night.

Our caring staff at AH Smiles in Arlington Heights, IL wants to help you get better sleep. Call (847) 230-9703 or schedule an appointment online.