Types of Sleep Disorders We Treat
There are many sleep disorders that are outside our expertise. However, we often help people with three different disorders:
Insomnia can mean either having trouble falling or staying asleep. The cases we treat are usually symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) or sleep apnea.
Snoring and sleep apnea are caused by an airway that either narrows or closes.
Our custom snoring appliances are very effective, and our sleep apnea treatment is so effective that most medical insurance will cover it.
The Overlap of TMJ and Sleep Apnea
The jaw is a complicated intersection of overlapping functions. One of these functions is breathing: the airway has to pass through the jaw to reach the lungs. Not only that, but the jaw is the major bone support for the airway, and its position become critical when a person sleeps and relaxes the muscles that normally help hold the airway open.
So it’s no wonder that people at a high risk are also nearly four times more likely to develop TMJ. Dysfunction in this area leads to multiple, radiating problems. To be treated successfully, they often have to be treated together.
An Alternative to CPAP
When doctors diagnose this, they are likely to prescribe continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). CPAP is a mask that goes on the face and attaches by a hose to an air pump. The air pump forces air into your throat to hold it open.
CPAP is a very effective treatment (almost 100% when used properly), but it’s not a very comfortable treatment. Between the restrictive nature of the mask, potential skin irritation, and discomfort of having air blown into the throat, few people really like the treatment. Many people dislike it so much that they don’t use it, even when they know it might save their life. Studies show long-term compliance with CPAP hover around 50%.
On the other hand, an oral appliance is an easy way to treat sleep apnea. You just slide it in and it holds your jaw in a more supportive position. This keeps your airway open. Most people who use an oral appliance use it all night every night for years, which makes it a better treatment option in many cases.
Sleep Better in Fort Atkinson
Are you having trouble sleeping? Whether you can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, or just wake up unrested, we can probably help. To learn whether jaw problems might be contributing to your sleep problems, please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment with Dr. Stafford at Bite Align, serving all of Jefferson County from our office in Fort Atkinson.