Quality sleep is not merely 7 to 9 hours a night. When you have sleep apnea, you may be in bed for 7 to 9 hours but be partially awakened hundreds of times each hour. The resulting poor, interrupted sleep will leave you feeling inexplicably groggy the next morning. You may find your brain and body feel sluggish. It’s possible you make a lot of mistakes at work. Your reaction time suffers; your brain is in a fog. You may be more prone to accidents in the car or on the job.
Over the longer term, many people with sleep apnea will develop:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Eye conditions such as glaucoma
- Surgical and drug-related complications
Relief from your symptoms can be found at your trusted dental provider’s office, Nashua Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry.
Treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis. The dentists will look at things like your medical and family histories. Sleep apnea may show signs in your mouth, in the form of an enlarged uvula or soft palate. It’s this tissue at the back of your mouth that blocks the airway when you sleep, causing breathing difficulties that interrupt your sleep throughout the night.
Sleep studies, or devices that record key indicators of sleep apnea, may be used. These diagnostic tools measure indicators such as how much oxygen is in the blood, how air moves through the nose, and heart rate and chest movements.
If Dr. Whitcomb find you can benefit from sleep apnea treatment, as dental professionals they are uniquely equipped to offer a convenient and effective approach: oral appliance therapy.
Conventional treatment is CPAP therapy. The use of a CPAP machine is effective, but very few people stick to this type of treatment because the equipment is bulky and uncomfortable, and can further interfere with sleep.
The oral appliance for sleep apnea is similar to a retainer or mouthguard. It is customized to be worn securely yet comfortably in the mouth. When worn while sleeping, oral appliances designed for the sleep apnea push and hold the jaw in a forward position. This repositioning helps to keep the upper airway open, and minimizes the chance of blockage from lax tissues at the back of the throat.
The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine reports more than 100 types of appliances have received FDA clearance. Dr. Whitcomb will know which of these many options is best for you. After the appliance is custom-made, and adjusted as needed to fit (for maximum comfort and effectiveness), the dental team will give you instructions on how to clean and maintain your appliance.
They will also discuss follow-up appointments, as adjustments will be necessary on an ongoing basis to assure you still get the most out of your Nashua sleep apnea treatment.