Sleep is essential for our overall well-being, yet it is often disrupted by conditions like sleep apnea and snoring. At St. Louis Dental West, under the expertise of Dr. Victoria Daugherty, we understand the impact of these sleep disorders on health and quality of life. One effective solution we offer is the use of oral appliances, a less invasive and comfortable alternative to traditional treatments.
Understanding Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. The most common form, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the muscles in the throat relax excessively, blocking the airway. This leads to symptoms like loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, morning headaches, and daytime fatigue. Untreated, sleep apnea can lead to severe health issues, including high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke.
The Role of Oral Appliances
Oral appliances are a frontline treatment for sleep apnea and snoring, particularly for those who find CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) therapy cumbersome. These devices are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth and work by positioning the jaw in a way that keeps the airway open during sleep.
There are mainly two types of oral appliances:
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs): These appliances look similar to sports mouthguards and work by gently pushing the lower jaw forward and down, which opens up the airway.
- Tongue Retaining Devices: These devices hold the tongue in place, preventing it from blocking the airway.
Benefits of Oral Appliances
Oral appliances offer several advantages, making them an appealing choice for many patients:
- Comfort and Convenience: Unlike CPAP machines, oral appliances are small, lightweight, and easy to wear. They are ideal for patients who travel frequently or for those who find CPAP machines noisy and uncomfortable.
- Effectiveness: Studies have shown that oral appliances can effectively treat mild to moderate sleep apnea and reduce snoring, leading to improved sleep quality and overall health.
- Customization: Each oral appliance is custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth, ensuring maximum comfort and effectiveness.
- Ease of Use: These devices are straightforward to use and maintain, making them a practical solution for long-term treatment.
The Oral Appliance Process at St. Louis Dental West
At St. Louis Dental West, the process of getting an oral appliance starts with a thorough evaluation by Dr. Victoria Daugherty. This includes:
- Assessment: A comprehensive examination to determine if an oral appliance is suitable for you.
- Impressions: If an oral appliance is recommended, we take impressions of your teeth to create a custom-fit device.
- Fitting: Once the appliance is ready, you will have a fitting session where Dr. Daugherty ensures it fits comfortably and effectively.
- Follow-up: Regular follow-up visits are crucial to monitor the appliance’s effectiveness and make any necessary adjustments.
About St. Louis Dental West
At St. Louis Dental West, we prioritize creating a comfortable and familiar environment for our patients. Our team, with over 15 years of experience, is dedicated to providing quality dental care while ensuring each visit is comfortable and tailored to individual needs. We believe in building long-term relationships with our patients, understanding their unique requirements, and offering personalized care.
For those struggling with sleep apnea or snoring, we offer innovative and effective solutions like oral appliances. We invite you to contact us to explore how we can help you achieve a better night’s sleep.