About the Expert
Dr. Grant graduated Cum Laude from University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Dental Medicine in 2019. She has completed over 150 hours of continuing education in the field of dental sleep medicine and maintains membership in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Grant offers a non-surgical alternative to CPAP therapy to patients that suffer from sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts while you are sleeping. This prevents your body and your brain from getting optimal levels of oxygen at night. If you snore loudly or gasp for air in your sleep, you could have sleep apnea and should seek treatment right away. Long-term untreated sleep apnea can lead to or cause excessive daytime sleepiness, cardiac issues, memory issues and much more.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea?
If you experience symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness, chronic fatigue, cognition issues and loud snoring you could have sleep apnea. You can speak with your primary care provider or find a dentist that specializes in dental sleep medicine. My practice offers at-home sleep apnea testing which tracks your breathing during sleep in the comfort of your own bed! The test will allow us to see when you stop breathing and any decreases in your oxygen levels.
If I snore do I have sleep apnea?
Not all people who snore have sleep apnea, but it is a sign of resistance in the airway. As snoring gets louder, the chances of having sleep apnea are greater. The only way to know is to seek a sleep test with your doctor or a dentist who treats sleep apnea.
What treatments are available?
The most well-known treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This is a machine that uses a hose and face mask to deliver constant air pressure to your lungs while you sleep. The pressurized air prevents the airway from collapsing. Many people complain about the face mask, hose and/or the increased pressure during this treatment. My practice offers an alternative – an oral appliance that moves the lower jaw forward during sleep which opens the airway and allows for better breathing at night.
What are possible side-effects of oral appliance therapy?
Most people do not experience side effects if they follow instructions from their dentist regarding therapy. I prescribe stretching in the morning and the use of another appliance that brings the jaw back to its natural position. Occasionally, patients may experience mild jaw soreness that improves throughout the day. Overall, oral appliance therapy is a great non-surgical and conservative way to treat sleep apnea.