There are very few things that are as irritating and disheartening as a bad night’s sleep. While you sleep, your body is able to refresh and restore itself to prepare for the day ahead. Your mind and muscles are able to relax, and your body will be ready to perform anything to your fullest potential. When your sleep is disturbed, even in the slightest, it can drastically alter how your body feels and acts. Sleep apnea is no easy condition to live with, and Dr. Stephanie Santos and Dr. Vinita Folck are focused on making sure our patients are taken care of in many different areas. Beyond giving people a beautiful smile, they can also help those struggling with sleep apnea overcome the disorder using a solution custom-made for them.
The most common form of sleep apnea is OSA, or obstructive sleep apnea. The word “apnea” literally means “without breath,” so when you sleep, your body’s breathing becomes interrupted for up to 10 seconds. Because this pause can happen several times in a single night, your body is left feeling more tired than when you went to bed.
If you suffer from OSA, when you sleep, the soft palate in your mouth relaxes and collapses, causing your airway to become partially or fully blocked. This may cause you to snore excessively and loudly, have short breaths, or stop breathing altogether.
One of the ways our dentists can help our patients with sleep apnea is by providing oral appliances. One of the appliances they may recommend is the TAP®, or Thornton Adjustable Positioner. This appliance caters to those who suffer from OSA and is able to keep the airway open so air can flow easily while someone sleep. It works by positioning the lower jaw forward and prevents the tissue of the soft palate from collapsing, allowing a patient to get better sleep and subside any snoring.
The TAP® consists of upper and lower trays that fit over the teeth and are adjustable to provide optimum comfort. The TAP® 3 TL allows a patient to open and close their mouth and has more room for the tongue to move freely. Either way, this is a great device to help patients get a better night’s sleep.
Another appliance that may be recommended is the Silent Nite® SL. Just like the TAP®, the Silent Nite® SL works by positioning your jaw forward, allowing for air to flow easily. For this appliance, however, certain registrations must be taken to ensure optimum results. A patient’s bite registration is taken into account, ensuring that their Silent Nite® SL is custom-made to fit their own unique bite.
The EMA®, or Elastic Mandibular Advancement, also helps with OSA and is very non-invasive. Like the previously mentioned appliances, EMA® positions the jaw forward for better airflow, but it also opens the bite. It is designed for optimal patient comfort, as it comes with five different strap lengths and four elastic tension options. The EMA® can work for patients that have a full or partial set of teeth.
There’s no reason for you to struggle with sleep apnea anymore. Dr. Santos and Dr. Folck can help you get the sleep you’ve been wanting at our Virginia Beach dental practice. Call us today and make your appointment to start enjoying restful nights again.