Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing for ten seconds or more during sleep — coming from the Greek word apnea, meaning “without air.”
Sleep apnea has traditionally been treated by the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), a machine that streams air into the nose or nose and mouth via a mask. While effective, 50 percent of patients find they can’t tolerate using the machine.
As a proven and reliable alternative for mild to moderate sleep apnea, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends Oral Appliance Therapy, the use of comfortable, mouth guard-like devices prescribed only by dentists.
Why Oral Appliance Therapy?
One of the biggest problems with CPAP is that long term use has remained consistently low. If patients aren’t using a sleep apnea treatment that they find comfortable and convenient enough to use consistently, they won’t achieve the health benefits and quality of life improvement that comes with treatment.
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Kuhn Dental will work with your physician to create your custom treatment plan. Unlike a traditional physician’s office, the team at Kuhn Dental will evaluate surrounding muscles and tissues, and look for related issues with jaw alignment. Kuhn’s advanced dental technology ensures that the patient’s jaws are relaxed and in the proper position when technicians take impressions to create a new oral appliance.
The oral appliance is small, comfortable to wear and easy to transport — it rests comfortably in your mouth, just like a night guard. You don’t have to worry about masks, hoses, humidifiers, or any other hassles that come along with CPAP. The appliance works by holding your jaw in the right position to open the airway, and creating extra room in your mouth to accommodate your tongue. The combination of the two allows you to sleep while breathing comfortably throughout the night.
Dr. Mandy Grimshaw prescribes the Micr02™ appliance. The MicrO2 features a sleek, one-piece design that is easy to adjust. The low profile design, contoured cheek borders, and extra space for your tongue make this durable oral appliance very comfortable to wear while sleeping.
After wearing the oral appliance for a few nights, patients will notice a huge improvement in their energy levels and mood. With consistent use, oral appliance therapy can reduce health risks associated with untreated sleep apnea.
Oral appliance therapy is also beneficial to your teeth and overall oral health too because it holds your jaw in an optimal position while you sleep. This means you won’t clench or grind your teeth which can lead to tooth wear and cracked or broken teeth. Treating sleep apnea can save you from lots of oral and overall health problems down the line.
Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Impaired concentration
- Morning headaches
- Memory loss
- Decreased sex drive
- Heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth at night
- Swelling of the legs
- Getting up during the night to urinate
- Sweating and chest pain while you are sleeping
Health Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Without sleep apnea treatment, untreated sleep apnea can lead to increased risks of serious health problems including:
- Heart attack
- Type 2 diabetes
- Fatty liver disease
- High blood pressure
- High LDL cholesterol levels
Get Sleep Apnea Treatment at Kuhn Dental Associates
Dr. Grimshaw has over 10 years of experience in treating sleep apnea with oral appliances, and has taken post-graduate courses on diagnosing and treatment at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. She may also refer you to a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck to determine if there are other causes that may be contributing to your condition.
If you think you might have sleep apnea or you’re searching for an alternative to CPAP, schedule a consultation with Dr. Grimshaw at Kuhn Dental Associates in Aberdeen at 910-692-4450. Get a list of services offered at kuhndentist.com