Sleep apnea is a common condition that afflicts millions of Americans, but there’s hope for patients who suffer from this sleep disorder. Our goal at Riverbend Sleep is to find the right treatment for you so you can sleep soundly throughout the night and wake up feeling fresh and energetic.
If you’ve noticed common sleep apnea symptoms such as heavy snoring and daytime fatigue, Dr. Aldrich is the person to see — she’s an experienced sleep dentist who is a Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine (ABDSM). Dr. Aldrich will make sure you get the correct diagnosis for your sleep apnea, and then we’ll find the ideal treatment to fit your lifestyle.
What is CPAP and is it the Only Solution?
The CPAP machine was invented in 1980 — it’s the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea and it’s also the first treatment that most patients try. CPAP delivers a constant airflow directly into your throat through a mask that attaches to your face, ensuring your airway stays open while you sleep.
While this treatment method is effective, CPAP isn’t the most user-friendly device for patients. CPAP requires patients to sleep on their backs with the mask over their face, and this is uncomfortable for many people who aren’t used to sleeping like this.
Another issue patients have with the CPAP machine is the loud noise it makes. Not only does this distract the user from falling asleep, but it can also be an inconvenience for their sleep partner. These and other issues have caused a number of CPAP patients to seek other treatment options for their sleep apnea.
Treating Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliances Instead of CPAP
Thanks to improvements in technology, alternatives to CPAP are available to people suffering from sleep apnea. For example, many of our patients find relief using an oral appliance. This is a small device that treats your sleep apnea by gently shifting your lower slightly forward, so your airway will remain open throughout the night.
There are a variety of oral appliances that are offered to people with sleep apnea. Each device has a slightly different approach to keeping your airway open.They’re designed to allow patients to move more freely while they sleep.
Mandibular Advancement Devices
Snoring is a major symptom of sleep apnea, and it’s one of the main reasons people seek treatment. A Mandibular Advancement Device is a treatment that’s made to prevent snoring. The retainer-like device gets its name because mandible is another name for jawbone.
The mandibular device is placed inside your jaw and it’s molded to fit your teeth for maximum effectiveness. Similar to the CPAP machine, the mandibular treatment method is designed to eliminate airway restriction that may occur during sleep.
One of the main complaints patients have with CPAP was that it inhibits their movement during sleep. The Herbst oral appliance is a great solution to this problem because it allows for vertical and lateral movement during sleep. This appliance is a two-piece device that’s placed in the jaw. The Herbst oral appliance can easily be adjusted using the rod/sleeve plunger mechanism. It’s an effective treatment method for both chronic snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.
The Dorsal Fin device is another convenient treatment option for sleep apnea. It consists of upper and lower dental plates which allow for vertical movement of the mouth. Patients appreciate their ability to move their mouth normally while wearing this device. Another benefit with this device is that it’s adjustable for maximum comfort.
One common complaint about the CPAP treatment option is its bulkiness. You won’t have that issue with the Panthera Sleep Apnea Device. This custom-crafted appliance ‘contains upper and lower retainer pieces for greater flexibility.
The Panthera Sleep Apnea Device features connecting rods instead of metal clips, which ensures the device doesn’t touch the gums. Not only does this oral appliance help people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, but it also relieves stress on the temporomandibular joint that other oral appliances might not accomplish.
Dr. Aldrich is a knowledgeable and experienced dentist who is happy to help you find the sleep apnea treatment to best fit your lifestyle. Call today to learn more.