Have you been diagnosed with sleep apnea? Have you been told that you snore loudly?
Dr. Hess offers dental sleep medicine in Charlotte, NC. This is a growing area in the field of dentistry that focuses on the oral health element of sleep disorders. The science of sleep medicine has shown that sleep apneas are often caused by a blocked airway. This happens when the soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses into the airway during sleep. There is a range of factors that can contribute to this problem from neck circumference to large tonsils and jaw structure abnormalities. Treatment for sleep apnea is designed to allow the airway to remain open and facilitate normal breathing.
Oral Appliance Therapy
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and would like to find an alternative to the CPAP, oral appliance therapy could be a solution. Dr. Hess can work with you to create a custom oral sleep appliance that will position the lower jaw correctly and keep soft tissue from collapsing into the airway.
Oral appliances for sleep disorders and snoring will fit like a sports mouthguard. They are comfortable and portable, making it much easier to be consistent with your treatment and wear nightly. Dr. Hess will take impressions and work with a lab to create a device that will push the lower jaw forward enough to enable the tongue to relax in a natural position. The effect of the sleep appliance is to open the airway and support better muscle tone in the tongue over time. This will prevent it from falling back into the throat when relaxed.
Am I a candidate for oral appliance therapy?
If you have been told by a medical professional that you have mild to moderate sleep apnea, you are likely a good candidate for an oral appliance. If you are experiencing more severe symptoms or have significant jaw structure issues, the CPAP may be the more effective treatment option. The first step is to schedule a visit with Dr. Hess. He will discuss your diagnosis, medical history, and symptoms.
Treating sleep apnea is of great importance for your overall health and wellness. The effects of sleep apnea over time can increase your risk of sudden stroke and heart attack. Oral appliance therapy can resolve symptoms and give you back an improved quality of life each day.