Sleep Apnea Specialist

Sylvan S. Stern, DDS

Dentist located in Southfield, MI

Treating sleep apnea can require expensive and bulky apparatus to provide positive pressure as you sleep. However, for many, this equipment can cause sleep problems on its own. Sylvan S. Stern, DDS, of Southfield, Michigan, offers effective and affordable alternatives if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Call the office, or book an appointment online today.

Sleep Apnea Q & A

What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition typically caused by soft tissue in the mouth and throat relaxing and collapsing as you sleep. Though it’s often responsible for snoring, sleep apnea becomes a problem when breathing is interrupted. The soft tissue can collapse to the point that your airways are blocked, and you stop breathing for short periods of time. Without air, your brain wakes you enough so that you shift position and reopen your airways, even though you may not remember waking.

The effects can be cumulative, and you could have hundreds of similar incidents every night, waking up tired, even though you seem to have had a full night of sleep. Although there are several types of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea is the most common, and it’s the type that Dr. Stern treats using custom dental appliances.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

Loud snoring is perhaps the most obvious symptom of sleep apnea, and it may make breathing problems obvious to others. However, some people can snore without the breathing issues of apnea occurring. If you snore and have other sleep apnea symptoms, then it’s more likely you’re affected. As well as snoring and obvious breathing issues, these signs include:

  • Sudden awakening accompanied by shortness of breath
  • Trouble staying asleep
  • Waking up with a sore throat or dry mouth
  • A headache upon waking in the morning
  • Sleepiness through the day despite a full night of sleep
  • Mood and attention issues

How is sleep apnea treated by a dentist?

One aspect of obstructive sleep apnea that many people experience is the lower jaw shifting back as they lie down and relax. This motion allows soft tissue to collapse more completely, potentially blocking your airways. This blockage may not occur if the shift is prevented.

Dental appliances that are much like athletic mouth guards can be fashioned to hold your lower jaw forward as you sleep, allowing for easier passage of air. Dr. Stern fits you for a custom-made appliance using dental impressions.

The completed appliance holds your lower jaw in place while you sleep, as though you were upright. If a sleep study indicates you’re a candidate for an oral appliance, this may be a fast and easy way to a better night’s sleep.