Are you or a loved one struggling with sleepless nights due to snoring and sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a widespread sleep disorder that can impact anyone, regardless of age, shape, or background. As a dentist that works exclusively in the realm of sleep apnea treatment, I've encountered patients of all kinds who struggle to be successful with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy and as a result, continue to suffer from the myriad of symptoms and health risks related to obstructive sleep apnea. Many individuals are unaware that there are comfortable and effective alternatives available.
In this quick guide, I'll introduce you to the world of custom built dental appliances specifically designed for snoring and sleep apnea and discuss the importance of how a well-trained dentist can find the exact style that perfectly fits your body, to enhance comfort and improve treatment outcomes. Kind of like Cinderella at the ball, finding the shoe that fits just right so that you can be the ruler of the night. So, bid farewell to sleepless nights and embrace a user-friendly solution tailored specifically to your needs.
Understanding Sleep Apnea: A Widespread Condition
It is important to understand that sleep apnea is much more common than most people realize. Sleep apnea affects billions of people worldwide, and most people are completely unaware that they are impacted by the condition, that is until the negative side effects start to impact their daily life. This sleep disorder disrupts sleep by causing breathing interruptions, oftentimes leading to loud snoring, heart issues, and chronic daytime fatigue. Regardless of your age, sleep apnea can significantly impact your health and quality of life.
As a dentist who has treated patients struggling with sleep apnea for the last decade, I've seen how this condition can affect people from all walks of life, myself included. I’ll share a brief story of two of my patients. First meet Jessica, a vibrant young woman in her 30s, who came to my clinic complaining of persistent fatigue and waking up multiple times to use the restroom during the night. Despite her young age, she couldn’t figure out why was struggling to feel rested throughout the day. Additionally, meet Brad, even though he is in his mid-70s he is very healthy and active for his age. His concern was that he kept falling asleep early in the evenings so he was missing out on quality time with his wife.
For both of these patients, CPAP was not an option for them and we realized that sleep apnea was the culprit for not only their poor sleep quality but their daytime fatigue. Together, we explored various treatment options and fabricated different and unique styles of dental appliances to effectively treat their individual concerns and to effectively address their sleep apnea, and help them regain control of their sleep quality.
The Quest for an Effective Solution
For decades, CPAP therapy has been the primary treatment for sleep apnea. While it has proven to be incredibly effective at addressing the problem, unfortunately, many individuals find it uncomfortable and challenging to use. The cumbersome mask, the noise of the machine, and the feeling of being tethered to a hose can be daunting, regardless of age or lifestyle. If the patient is not able or willing to hook up every night then their condition remains and the lifestyle impacts continue to be a burden.
But fear not, there is another way that is very effective and incredibly well tolerated!
Enter Custom Anti-Snoring Mouthpieces
Custom anti-snoring mouthpieces, also known as Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs), offer a simple and sleek alternative for sleep apnea treatment. These oral devices are designed to keep the airways open by gently advancing the lower jaw during sleep, preventing the collapse of the tongue and soft palate that cause snoring and sleep apnea.
The Advantages of Custom MADs
One of the standout features of custom MADs is their tailor-made design. It is not like a one size fits some CPAP mask. These mouthpieces are crafted specifically to fit your unique mouth, much like finding that perfectly fitting shoe. Just as buying the wrong size shoe can cause discomfort and pain, an improperly fitting mouthpiece can lead to jaw soreness or discomfort during sleep, which is why many people find over-the-counter snore guards to be bulky, awkward, and ineffective.
Finding the Right Style: An Excellent Fit
Imagine going shoe shopping. Different styles and brands fit differently on each person's foot. One style may be loose on your friend's feet but may feel tight on yours. Similarly, when recommending a custom MAD, I take into consideration the individual's jaw structure, anatomy, dental history, and lifestyle to find the perfect fit tailored to YOU. If you can believe it, there are more than 150 different dental appliances to choose from and I make it a point to precisely build each appliance for each patient. It is not reasonable to expect a specific lab or style of appliance to work for every individual which is why I work with many different designs.
For example, some common styles of appliances include:
1. Dorsal Fin Style
The Dorsal Fin Style mouthpiece features a shark fin that sticks up and allows the upper and lower tray to be completely separated but work harmoniously together to provide snoring relief. This style is wonderful for people with missing teeth, or short teeth from tooth wear.
2. Herbst Style
The Herbst-style mouthpieces are very common and very easy to modify; it is one of the main styles of appliances supported by many insurances including Medicare. This appliance uses a specific type of telescopic bar that can advance the jaw in very small movements to be highly adjustable for the patient. It is also a wonderful appliance for people that are strong clenchers and grinders.
3. Nylon-Based or Milled Devices
Made from a nylon-like or unique milled acrylic material, these mouthpieces are durable, flexible, and comfortable. They provide a snug fit for your mouth and are well-suited for those who may have allergies to certain materials. For someone with sensitivity or allergy concerns, or a very small mouth a nylon-based or milled mouthpiece may be the most comfortable option.
So Many Choices
There are a variety of design features, various materials, and design requests that can be built into every individual device. While these are just a few examples of the multitude of appliances available on the market I think it is important to remember that one appliance is not better than another, but that one appliance is better for YOU than another. And best of all, when you have an expert on your team I can help you to find that perfect fit. I will make the decision effortless so that you can be comfortable immediately and start to experience that great night's sleep that you have been searching for.
Why Custom Over Boil and Bite?
While boil-and-bite mouthpieces are readily available in stores and online, for less cost they often provide a generic fit that may not be suitable for everyone. It goes back to that same one size fits all model that is bulky, uncomfortable, and less likely to be effective because if you are not able to wear it, it will not provide the right comfort and effect needed to address your individual sleep apnea concerns.
Custom oral appliances are crafted by dental professionals with extra training in sleep apnea management, we use highly accurate computer scanning impression and milling technology to create an exceptional fit. This ensures a comfortable fit and a durable product that will maximize treatment compliance and effectiveness.
Because you just can’t beat that perfect fit feeling!
Consultation with a Sleep Apnea Professional
If you suspect you or someone you love may have sleep apnea or have struggled with CPAP therapy, don't hesitate to seek help from your medical care team and consider looking into alternative therapies. Consider finding a dentist that has experience in treating sleep disorders. Regardless of your age, dental history, or lifestyle, a comprehensive evaluation will determine if a custom dental appliance is appropriate and I will help you choose the specific design style that suits you best. This will help provide the best outcomes for your unique symptoms and concerns.
During my many years of practice, I've witnessed the transformative power of custom-built dental appliances for a huge variety of people. Everyone, partners included, can enjoy the universal benefits of a good night's sleep.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that can impact anyone, regardless of age or background. Just as finding the perfect shoe size enhances comfort and support, choosing the right style of dental appliance can greatly enhance treatment outcomes and tolerance for sleep apnea treatment. The discomfort and challenges associated with CPAP therapy or over-the-counter snore guards have deterred many from seeking effective treatment. However, the advent of custom-built mouthpieces has provided a comfortable, effective, and user-friendly alternative.
As an experienced dentist trained in sleep apnea management, I have dedicated my career to finding the right device for the right patient to create quieter happier bedrooms. The personalized fit and treatment effectiveness make them a wonderful alternative to other sleep apnea therapy options. Say goodbye to sleepless nights and embrace a customized solution for a restful, rejuvenating slumber.