Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects more than twelve million Americans, many of them suffering through the problem undiagnosed. A potentially life-threatening sleep disorder, apnea episodes stop regular breathing during sleep.
Sleep apnea is a disorder that affects more than twelve million Americans, many of them suffering through the problem undiagnosed. A potentially life-threatening sleep disorder, apnea episodes stop regular breathing during sleep. The most common symptoms are snoring and a constant feeling of being tired. While many clinicians recommend Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy, the Sacramento Dentistry Group encourages our patients with sleep apnea to consider resolving their condition with OATs. What is OAT and why do our Sacramento sleep apnea dentists recommend it over CPAP?
CPAP Compared to OAT
The CPAP treatment system combines a face mask with a machine that creates a constant flow of air through the breathing passages. Imagine the type of equipment worn by a jet fighter pilot to provide oxygen and you get a picture of the device. Now think about sleeping while wearing the mask and being hooked up by hoses to a pump regulating air pressure. As you can imagine, CPAP is noisy and uncomfortable for many patients. While it generally works well for treating sleep apnea, more than half the patients who should use CPAP stop wearing the machine within a year. That is dangerous and unhealthy.
What if those patients could solve their sleep apnea problem by wearing an oral appliance that looks and feels like an ordinary mouthguard? Such a device exists and its use is called OAT.
OAT — You Don't Eat It, You Wear It
OAT stands for Oral Appliance Therapy. Oral appliances differ in their construction, from devices that are similar to mouthguards or Invisalign aligners to others that actually reshape the mouth for better breathing. All of them work by keeping your airway open without the use of pumps and air masks. The American Sleep Apnea Association explains its use this way: "You can simulate the effect of an oral appliance with a simple experiment. If you make a snoring sound right now and, in the middle of it, thrust your jaw forward, you will see that the snoring sound stops."
The first step in treating sleep apnea with an oral appliance is an examination and consultation with one of our Sacramento dentists to determine if your sleep apnea problem is suitable for OAT. You can also meet with our office manager and sleep apnea specialist Jay Kim. If OAT seems right for you, an impression of your teeth and jaws is taken, either digitally or with a mold, and a custom-fit oral appliance is created for you personally by a dental technician. When the appliance arrives, we show you how to wear it, use it and keep it clean. You get to enjoy a full night's sleep and your family will welcome the end to your snoring!
To explore the possibility of treating sleep apnea with dentistry and oral appliances, contact the Sacramento Dentistry Group at (916) 538-6900, visit our website at sacramentodentistry.com or stop by our convenient downtown office at 1105 E Street. The Sacramento Dentistry Group enjoys helping patients, and those around them, get a good night's sleep!