Sleep Apnea and Snore Treatment

img_sleep_apneaSleep apnea and snoring may not seem like something that a dentist would treat, but the common breathing problem and its most famous symptom are not actually a matter of the lungs or the nose; they involve the mouth and throat. That is why there is a dental treatment for sleep apnea, which many patients who have tried it prefer to the more usual treatment with a CPAP breathing machine.

There is more than one type of sleep apnea, but the most common type is called obstructive sleep apnea. This involves an obstruction in the back of the mouth or the throat that blocks air from flowing. The obstruction is sometimes the tongue, which for some people falls back when they sleep. The obstruction can also be tissue at the back of the throat. When air tries to get past an obstruction, it makes a rattling sound; we know this as snoring. Heavy snoring, especially in overweight people, middle aged people and particularly in men, is often a symptom of sleep apnea.

“I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea and it was recommended that I use a CPAP machine. I just couldn’t get used to it. I felt completely different after using the oral sleep appliance Dr. Sattout fitted me with. My quality of life increased tremendously thanks to him!”

– Dennis, Youngstown, CA

Dennis couldn’t believe how uncomfortable his CPAP machine treatment was. “I tried it for almost a year. It was uncomfortable and it took me hours to fall asleep. It was suffocating and constricting. By the time I found out about oral appliances, I was on sleeping pills to help me sleep at night,” he says.

When Dennis came in to see Dr. Sattout for a dental exam, they talked about his sleep apnea. “Dr. Sattout recommended an oral sleep appliance, which I’d never heard of, but I wanted to give it a try.”

After just a few weeks with his oral sleep appliance, Dennis says he’s lost weight, is happier, and no longer makes mistakes at work. “It felt no different than wearing an orthodontic retainer. The oral appliance is transportable and convenient. Dr. Sattout’s treatment was spot-on!”

Diagnosis of sleep apnea can only be made after a sleep study, either in a clinic or at home. A medical doctor must make the diagnosis, and usually the treatment is a CPAP or other type of breathing machine. CPAP treatment involves wearing a mask that covers your mouth or nose, while the machine steadily forces air through the connected hose so that you breathe without the obstruction in your mouth or throat getting in the way. While this is an effective treatment, wearing the mask is uncomfortable for many people. CPAP also requires electricity, so it’s not a good option for people who like to go camping or during power outages. The bulky equipment also makes travelling with it a bit difficult.

Dentists like Dr. Omar Sattout at Kettleman Dental Care offer a sleep apnea and snoring treatment that is small, portable, requires no electricity or batteries and is more comfortable than a CPAP mask. It is an oral appliance that is custom made to fit in your mouth, keeping your mouth and jaws positioned so that air can flow past the obstruction freely. For many sleep apnea patients, dental treatment stops snoring and helps them sleep through the night, eliminating sleep apnea symptoms like daytime fatigue, headache, mental sluggishness and irritability.

Without treatment, sleep apnea can be dangerous. Sleep apnea sufferers wake up hundreds of times during the night because they literally stop breathing, which leads to daytime fatigue and may put them in dangerous situations when driving or operating machinery.

If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, you must see a medical doctor for diagnosis. If you would like to learn about a dental treatment alternative to CPAP, call Kettleman Dental Care in Lodi now to set up a consultation appointment.