Sleep Apnea Therapy
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea refers to the cessation of breathing while an individual is sleeping. There are several different forms of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea, during which the collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the throat obstruct the airway, central sleep apnea, where the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing, and complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of the two other forms. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of sleep apnea, affecting over 18 million American adults annually.
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
Traditionally, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy has been used to treat cases of sleep apnea. While this therapy is effective for many severe cases of sleep apnea, some patients find the machine to be uncomfortable and inconvenient, leading to non-compliance. For these individuals, oral appliances offer a comfortable alternative that effectively alleviates the symptoms of sleep apnea.
Bartram Dental Center is proud to offer several different types of oral appliances, each of which are based on the patient’s oral needs. Oral appliances at our St. Johns office include:
SomnoMed Classic Flex: Ideal for individuals prone to bruxism and other sleep issues, this oral appliance is highly durable, preventing overnight teeth grinding while alleviating the symptoms of sleep apnea. SomnoMed oral devices are custom-fit by the dentist, ensuring a comfortable fit. The Classic Flex treats symptoms by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. This forward movement helps open up the airways, preventing apnea.
ResMed Narval CC: Recommended for patients with small mouths, this oral appliance is very pliable and is most effective when used to address cases of mild sleep apnea. Most devices hold the jaw in an uncomfortable position, but the Narval CC decreases bulk by using lighter materials, which expands tongue space and enables more natural movement of the jaw. Patients can still speak and even drink liquids while the device is in.