In addition to being a nuisance to a sleeping partner, snoring is a sign of a serious health problem called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It’s one of the most under-diagnosed disorders in the United States and can lead to a host of health problems like memory loss, weight gain, stress, heart attacks, and it can even lead to car accidents.
Many people think the only treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, but Dr. Banks, a dentist in Chevy Chase, MD, can provide you with an alternative treatment to wear while you sleep. This oral appliance has been shown to improve sleep and effectively treat sleep apnea in many patients.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea is commonly associated with excess weight or obesity, but this is not always the cause. Certain sleep positions may obstruct the airway as the muscles relax during sleep, which reduces the body’s air supply. The sleeper may awaken multiple times gasping for air without knowing, wake up feeling tired, or even have issues with concentration and memory.
How Can My Dentist Treat Sleep Apnea?
While a CPAP machine prescribed by a doctor is a common solution to sleep apnea, an oral appliance or “snore guard” can provide similar results while avoiding having to wear a mask at night. Both treatments are different ways of maintaining an open airway during sleep.
In the case of CPAP therapy, a constant flow of air is directed into the throat through a mask to prevent the patient’s airway from collapsing during sleep. The oral appliance, on the other hand, is custom-fitted to each individual patient to reposition the bottom jaw, moving it forward to keep soft tissue out of the airway.
The appliance is made sturdy enough to withstand teeth grinding so that even those patients that suffer from that issue can use the appliance to achieve a better night’s sleep.
Is the Oral Appliance Comfortable?
Dr. Banks offers individual consultations with patients, where he examines the mouth and fits the appliance to precise measurements. Although the appliance does reposition the jaw, it’s designed to fit comfortably inside the mouth in order to disrupt sleep as little as possible. Most patients report less snoring and better sleep while using the oral appliance.
Snore Guard for Sleep Apnea in Chevy Chase, MD
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sleep apnea or snores at night, an oral appliance may help. Schedule an individual consultation by calling 202.769.0324.