Dr. Grimshaw with patient discussing sleep apnea treatment in Aberdeen

Simple, Comfortable Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Pinehurst and Southern Pines

Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing for ten seconds or more during sleep. Apnea is a Greek word meaning “without air.”

Traditionally sleep apnea has been treated by the use of a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), a machine that streams air into the nose or nose and mouth via a mask. While effective, 50% of patients find they can’t tolerate CPAP treatment.

As a proven and reliable alternative for mild to moderate, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends Oral Appliance Therapy, the use of mouth guard-like devices prescribed only by dentists.

Specialized Training

Dr. Grimshaw provides effective treatment for patients suffering from sleep apnea. She has taken post-graduate courses on diagnosing and treatment at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.

Woman using pillow to cover her ears while partner snores

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Most people are suffering from the most common form of Sleep Apnea: Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. Sleep Apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. In OSA, the muscles in your throat relax and your tongue or other throat structures fall back and block the airway, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your organs, including your heart and brain.

People usually snore loudly. They stop breathing for short periods of time, 10 seconds or more each pause. The breathing pauses during sleep cause your body to briefly wake up while you remain unaware. This can happen hundreds of times in a night, causing you to wake up feeling less than refreshed and to feel tired during the day.

Many people with OSA don’t actually notice the interruptions in their breathing. However, the transition from restful, deep sleep to a light sleep isn’t enough to function well, and sleep apnea sufferers are often very tired during the day, and are prone to headaches and a dry mouth.

Oral Appliance Therapy

The MicrO2 is milled with CAD/CAM technology for a precise, comfortable fit. Photo courtesy of MicroDental laboratories.

Dr. Grimshaw uses a recent breakthrough in oral appliances, the MicrO2™, to provide comfortable treatment for sleep apnea with consistently positive results.

The MicrO2 features a sleek, one-piece design that is easy to adjust. The low profile design, contoured cheek borders, and extra space for your tongue make durable oral appliance very comfortable to wear while sleeping.

Woman wearing CPAP

Preparing for your oral appliance

Dr. Grimshaw uses two high-tech devices, the K7 evaluation system and the TENS unit, to make sure your jaw and muscles are relaxed and in the proper position prior to taking an impression to create your oral appliance.

This ensures that your oral appliance is comfortable and will be effective for treatment without contributing to bite problems such as TMD.

ENT (Ears Nose and Throat) specialist

Dr. Grimshaw may also refer you to a medical doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the ear, nose, throat (ENT), and related structures of the head and neck to determine if there are other causes that may be contributing to your condition.

Who Is at Risk for Sleep Apnea?

Most people who suffer from sleep apnea are male, overweight, and middle age or older. This is not exclusively true as young people (even children), women, and people of average weight may be affected as well.

Other risk factors include a family history, the use of alcohol or sedatives (which also relax the throat), and smoking. Smokers are three times more likely to develop sleep apnea due to inflammation and fluid retention in the throat caused by inhaling tobacco.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Typical symptoms include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Impaired concentration
  • Morning headaches
  • Snoring
  • Memory loss
  • Irritability
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth at night
  • Swelling of the legs
  • Getting up during the night to urinate
  • Sweating and chest pain while you are sleeping

Online Sleep Apnea tests

If you snore or if you are often tired despite getting plenty of sleep, you can take these simple online tests to see if you may be suffering from sleep apnea.

Health Conditions Linked to Sleep Apnea

When breathing pauses repeatedly during sleep, oxygen deprivation occurs and can cause other health issues such as those listed below.

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Weight gain

Lack of refreshing sleep can cause drowsiness during the day, and nearly one in five automobile accidents involving serious injury have been attributed to a driver being sleepy while behind the wheel.

If you feel that you may be suffering from OSA, please schedule an appointment so that you can the treatment that you need and deserve.

To make an appointment, call (910) 218-9699 or click here to request an appointment online.