Sean P. Drower, DMD PC

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

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Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious and sometimes life threatening condition. Two types of sleep apnea exist. At Dr. Sean Drower’s office, we treat the most common kind, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with appliance therapy. OSA is characterized by the obstruction of your airway while you sleep. Because you stop breathing, your brain alerts you to wake up and begin breathing again. The constant need to awaken may happen without you even realizing it.

The diagnosis of sleep apnea must be made by your physician in conjunction with an accredited sleep study clinic.

Common symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Daytime fatigue
  • Loud snoring
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Abrupt awakening
  • Insomnia

Once you have received your diagnosis, your doctor will recommend treatment for your sleep apnea condition. Usually, the first line of treatment is the CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) machine. While some patients tolerate the CPAP quite well, other patients have difficulty adjusting to it. At Dr. Sean Drower’s office, we offer an alternative treatment to the CPAP machine.

Out nightguards are specially designed and custom made to treat your sleep apnea. They are comfortable and many of our patients rave about their effectiveness.

If you have questions about if a nightguard will work for you, call our Keene, NH office for an evaluation.

Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can only be diagnosed by a physician at an accredited sleep study center. Continuous positive airway pressure (or CPAP) is the first-line therapy recommended to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

However, if your sleep apnea does not resolve with CPAP or if you have difficulty with CPAP, please call our office. Other treatments for sleep apnea are available, including night guards that help to reposition your jaw to open your airway.

The most common form of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when your airway is blocked by your own anatomy cutting off the flow of oxygen to your brain for a few seconds or more. When you stop breathing, your brain signals your body to wake up and start breathing again. The result is a poor night’s sleep.

Dr. Sean Drower is trained to treat obstructive sleep apnea by creating custom nightguards. These special nightguards work by gently guiding your lower jaw forward, which opens your airway, allowing you and your partner to get a better night’s sleep.

If you suffer from sleep apnea and would like to know if you are a candidate for this alternative treatment, call our Keene, NH office and schedule an evaluation with Dr. Sean Drower.

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by constriction to your airway that causes you to stop breathing throughout the night. Certain risk factors increase your risk of getting sleep apnea. The most common ones are:

  • Age—You are more likely to get sleep apnea if you are over 60
  • Being overweight
  • Being Male
  • Having a thick neck
  • Regular alcohol use
  • Having a narrow airway
  • Being congested

One of the best ways to get a better night’s sleep is to avoid alcohol. While you may think you get more restful sleep after a couple of drinks, the opposite is true. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in your throat and may worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Another way to avoid sleep apnea is to lose weight. Carrying excess weight puts pressure on your airway and increases the symptoms of OSA by further constricting your airway.

OSA must be diagnosed by a physician and requires an accredited sleep study. The CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine is the first line of defense against OSA, but if you are a patient with mild or moderate OSA and you are looking for an alternative to the CPAP machine, call our office and our helpful team will be able to get you scheduled for an evaluation with Dr. Sean Drower.

The diagnosis of sleep apnea must be made under the care of a physician and usually requires an overnight sleep study. People generally seek a sleep apnea diagnosis because they experience the symptoms of sleep apnea, which include fatigue, forgetfulness, and snoring.

Often people first realize they have a problem because their partner complains of noisy snoring during the night. Couples are often forced to sleep in separate rooms, putting a strain on their relationship. Overnight trips and travel can become an issue. People who have sleep apnea often do not feel rested after a full night’s sleep and have difficulty concentrating, jeopardizing their work performance and productivity.

Your physician will be able to recommend a sleep study program to diagnose or rule out sleep apnea. A positive diagnosis usually means that your doctor will recommend a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to help your condition by opening your airway. Usually, people find that the CPAP machine relieves their symptoms but occasionally, patients do not tolerate the CPAP machine well. They either find it too cumbersome or have difficulty sleeping.

Dr. Sean Drower offers alternative solutions to the CPAP machine by creating a custom nightguard that can open your airway and help you breathe better while you sleep.

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition and can create a whole host of other problems for your body. Some of the complications that arise from sleep apnea can seriously affect your health and quality of life.

Often, when patients have sleep apnea, their relationship suffers. Because of loud snoring, couples may be forced to sleep in separate rooms, causing strain to the intimacy of heir relationship. Or your partner may have difficulty sleeping for fear that you will stop breathing during the night.

Sleep apnea can also create systemic issues for patients. Sleep apnea causes things like high blood pressure, liver problems, and problems with surgery. Because you are deprived of oxygen, it creates a strain on your internal organs. You may even be at a higher risk for surgeries because your airway could close due to the sedative affects of the anesthetic.

Patients’ suffering does not end during waking hours. Because of the poor quality of sleep that sleep apnea sufferers get, daytime fatigue, attention problems, and mood problems are common. Depression is common among sleep apnea patients as well as feeling irritable due to poor quality sleep.

Sleep apnea can literally affect every aspect of your life. Proper diagnosis through your physician is the first step to treating sleep apnea and restoring the quality of your life.

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Disclaimer: The information throughout this site is not intended to be taken as medical advice.