Have you ever woken up feeling like you didn’t get a minute’s worth of sleep last night; you have a throbbing headache, and you’re being berated for snoring all night long?
Yes, yes, and yes.
You probably already know that you suffer from a potentially serious breathing disorder known as sleep apnea – a condition wherein you temporarily stop breathing during the night. You’ll wake up feeling tired, irritable, and would probably doze off in the middle of the day!
Sleep apnea can take a toll on your physical and mental health, but there’s a way to keep the condition from turning serious. No, we’re not talking about the big, uncomfortable CPAP machine – don’t worry!
What are we talking about then?
What Is An Oral Appliance And How Does It Work?
An oral appliance is custom-built and works by essentially realigning the jaw to open the airway.
Your dentist will start off by asking you a few questions related to your condition, co-existing ailments, and general physical health. They might also perform a sleep examination, and ask a partner to verify your sleeping habits.
Why Should You Bring Your Partner With You?
The only sure way to diagnose a patient with sleep apnea is to have their partner verify their sleeping habits. What habits per se?
- Loud snoring
- Loud coughing during sleep
- Periods of shortness of breath during sleep
- Irritable mood in the mouth
- Insomnia at night
- Hypersomnia in the day
What if you live alone? You might be asked to record yourself sleeping for better assessment!
What To Expect During Your Appointment?
Here are a few things you should expect when going in to get an oral appliance made:
- The dentist will ask you to fill a questionnaire related to your sleeping habits
- You’ll be asked to cooperate for a physical exam
- An impression, that is a negative reproduction, of your oral cavity will be taken
- A cast, that is a positive reproduction, of your oral cavity will be made
- A unique oral appliance will be made based on the dimensions of the cast
The entire process might take between two to three visits – so, heads up!
What Makes An Oral Appliance An Alternative To A CPAP?
Sleep should be peaceful and relaxing, not disjointed and restless. If it is difficult to comply with a CPAP, an oral appliance is a great alternative treatment modality to better improve your sleep.
An oral appliance is custom-built which means its unique to you and your needs. It’s not big, and bulky at all. Think of it like a retainer – it might take a minute to get used to, but once you do, you won’t even know it’s there!
What To Expect During Your Follow Up?
An oral appliance isn’t a definite cure for sleep apnea, it’s a balancing device. That is, the oral appliance can get you to sleep peacefully at night.
However, you will be required to come in for a few follow up visits. Why? Because the dentists needs to evaluate your sleeping status post insertion, or whether the device is causing any problems.
- An ill-fitting oral appliance can cause pain
- An oral appliance that’s over-extended into the gums would cause ulceration
- An oral appliance that hasn’t been smoothed out perfectly might cause lacerations
Haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a while? We’ve got your back! Contact us today to get a consultation!
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