Sleep Apnea and Snoring Therapy
Snoring is a common problem many people have, and many may not even know how bad it is until someone else tells them. In addition to the noise snoring generates, habitual snoring can lead to many health problems such as lower quality of sleep and increased risk for sleep apnea.
Many of our patients snore or have sleep apnea and do not like using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. We offer the TAP 3 appliance as an alternative to help our patients and spouses get a good night’s rest.
Ninety-six percent of patients who use this appliance have stopped snoring, and the appliance can be a cost-effective way to reduce problematic snoring. Plus, use of the device has the added benefit of improved sleep quality, something many people who suffer from snoring and from sleep apnea may not realize is a problem until they face it head-on by using an appliance!
Sleep Apnea Devices
While many who suffer from sleep apnea may be aware of how CPAP machines can help alleviate problems with getting a good night’s rest, the devices tend to be bulky and require a lot of equipment to set up. If you have a partner in your bed, CPAP machines can often disrupt their quality of sleep because they generate noise from the tanks and hoses used to help the device function. In contrast, using an oral appliance such as the TAP 3 appliance can ease sleep apnea symptoms such as snoring in a comfortable, quiet way. The oral appliance is portable and easy to travel with, so if you go on vacation or business trips you can store it easily and discreetly.
While many people who have sleep apnea snore, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Only a qualified medical professional can diagnose sleep apnea in patients, but if you have some of these common symptoms, you may suffer from sleep apnea and not even know it:
- Pauses in breathing while snoring
- Choking or gasping that follows paused breathing
- Trouble staying awake at work, when driving, or during the entire day
- Falling asleep quickly when not active
- Headaches in the morning
- Irritability and depression
- Unexplained personality changes or mood swings
- Sore throat or dry mouth upon waking
- Frequently need to wake up and urinate
- Episodes where breathing stops completely while sleeping
- Attention problems
- Difficulty staying asleep
- A decrease in libido
Oral appliance therapy improves obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in a quiet way and looks almost like a common retainer. The appliance shifts the lower jaw to keep airways open and reduce snoring and the potential for a lapse in breathing often associated with OSA. As the airways stay open and unobstructed, the person using the appliance will find their snoring reduced and quality of sleep improved.
If you think a sleep apnea device such as a TAP 3 appliance is right for you, a dentist can prescribe it and facilitate the process of fitting you for a device specially designed for your mouth. When you come for your first visit, your dentist will discuss treatment benefits from using the device and answer any questions you may have. From there, impressions will be taken of your mouth and used in the process of making the appliance. Follow up visits after you have received the finished appliance will check the fit of the device again and ensure you are using it correctly, including cleaning it properly.
Although these appliances help with OSA symptoms, severe OSA may benefit from use of a CPAP device. Talk to your doctor and your dentist to determine which device is right for you. If an oral appliance is determined to be the right appliance for your needs, the O’Fallon dentists at Lake Pointe Dental can help! Contact us today.