Oral Appliance Therapy
Is snoring taking its toll on your relationship? Has a significant other kindly, but firmly, told you that they’re packing up their pillow and sleeping on the couch tonight? Alternatively, worse, have they banished you to the couch? Snoring is a major red flag for a condition called “obstructive sleep apnea,” a dangerous medical problem that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and even death. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your airways close at night when you’re trying to sleep, causing you to wake up several times per hour to catch your breath. Here at Ranches Family Dental, we understand how obstructive sleep apnea can impact not only your relationship but also your quality of life.
Why Do I Need Oral Appliance Therapy for My Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
When a patient has obstructive sleep apnea, snoring isn’t the only problem they may face. Poor quality sleep, daytime fatigue and headaches, dry mouth and a sore throat, and mood changes also tag along for the ride. Doctors generally recommend CPAP (“Continuous Positive Airway Pressure”) machines for patients who stop breathing at night, but the problem with CPAP is its poor compliance rate. Nearly 50% of patients who are prescribed a CPAP machine refuse to use it, for some reason or another.
The main reasons that patients fail to use their CPAP machine include:
With such a high non-compliance rate, it’s especially critical to find another means of treatment for patients who are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
While many of the symptoms of sleep apnea may be reduced through lifestyle changes, this condition can also be caused by chronic illness, medication, and even genetics. For instance, obese people are more likely to have problems with obstructive sleep apnea and losing weight can help alleviate some of those symptoms. However, enlarged tonsils and narrow necks can also exacerbate it. Chronic allergies and sinus infections can make breathing through the nose difficult, leading to obstructive sleep apnea.
As another viable option for these patients, oral appliance therapy can deliver quantifiable relief from their unwanted symptoms. We often see patients who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea and have expressed frustration with both their CPAP machine and their symptoms. For them, we recommend something called a “mandibular advancement device” (MAD).
To ensure that our patient is a good candidate for a MAD, we will thoroughly check their entire mouth, tongue, and throat to determine if their problems are related to sleep apnea. An x-ray can give us a better idea of how your mouth and throat look about this condition. If we determine from this exam that you not only have obstructive sleep apnea but that you could benefit from a nighttime oral appliance, we’ll move forward with taking the impressions of your mouth to have your device fitted properly for you.
The next couple appointments you have with us will be to show you how to take care of your device and keep it clean and sanitary. If you require any adjustments to fit, we’ll also take care of those during these appointments. It may take a few tries to get it perfect, but once you are fitted with your MAD, you’ll be glad you have it!
If you have been told that you snore, or you suspect that you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and want to know more about how oral appliance therapy can benefit you, please give us a call here at Ranches Family Dental at (385) 374-0500 and allow us to answer any questions you may have and help you schedule your exam for a nighttime device consultation.