If you’re constantly waking up tired and feel like it’s impossible to get a good night’s sleep, you could have sleep apnea. It’s something that one in every five adults experiences. At Henrich Dental, Dr. Frank Henrich, a dentist in Tulsa, OK, offers oral appliance therapy to help with sleep apnea. Learn more about how we can help you get a better night’s sleep.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) happens when your tongue and the soft tissues in the back of your mouth collapse when you’re sleeping. This blocks your airway, meaning you struggle with breathing and getting enough oxygen to your lungs throughout the night. Your heart races and your brain sends a panic signal, causing you to wake up. After a couple of regular breaths, you fall back asleep and the cycle continues throughout the night.
Do I Have Sleep Apnea?
There are many symptoms and signs of sleep apnea. Some of them may seem normal to you, but when combined, point to sleep apnea. If you’re constantly tired and fatigued throughout the day, and you’ve had problems with snoring, you may have sleep apnea. Other signs include waking up gasping, headaches in the morning, dry mouth or a sore throat upon waking up, and struggles with concentration.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Typically, sleep apnea has been treated with what’s called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine. Through a mask, it provides a steady stream of air. However, sometimes people aren’t able to use the machine correctly or it simply isn’t effective for them. It’s also a large machine, making it difficult to travel with, and can be uncomfortable to get used to.
Oral appliance therapy offers a different option. It’s a simple way to treat mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea. The oral appliance is specially fitted for your mouth, being made in the lab after digital impressions are done. Oral appliances ensure that your jaw is in the right positioning while you’re sleeping. It prevents the tongue and muscles from collapsing, allowing your airway to stay open throughout the night.
Oral appliances are beneficial because they’re much easier to deal with. It’s much more convenient to take with you when you’re traveling. Unlike the CPAP machine, you don’t have a mask over your face or the sounds of a motor pumping. It’s more comfortable and something that’s easy to maintain and clean.
If you have a more severe case of sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy may be combined with another form of treatment. Sometimes the CPAP machine and oral appliance are used together for very severe cases. The oral appliance may also be combined with medication or surgical solutions if needed.
Oral Appliance Therapy at Your Tulsa, Oklahoma Dentist
Ready to get a solid night of sleep again? Call us or schedule an appointment online to determine a cure for your sleep apnea. To learn more, check out Dr. Henrich’s book about sleep apnea.