Sleep Apnea Appliances

Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, South Carolina

Dr. Gross lectures nationally on the topic of sleep apnea. Millions of Americans suffer from sleep apnea – a chronic disorder that occurs when a person ceases to breathe at various intervals throughout the night. Once this happens, your brain wakes up your body just enough to force you to take a breath again, but not enough to make you consciously awake. This process can occur hundreds of times a night, causing your body’s oxygen levels to drop to dangerous levels – all without you even realizing what is happening.

Loud, chronic snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea, along with choking and gasping in your sleep. If your bed partner has noticed these signs, you should see a sleep apnea specialist as soon as possible for an official diagnosis.  Dr. Gross has coined the term “Second Hand Sleep Apnea”, referring to bed partners of those with sleep apnea.  Many times, your bed partner will suffer from all of the associated symptoms of sleep deprivation because of your loud snoring and restless sleep, preventing them from sleeping well.  Dr. Gross offers in his practice an overnight, at-home sleep apnea monitor to screen patients for sleep apnea.

Daytime Sleep Apnea Symptoms

The combination of sleep deprivation and oxygen deprivation can lead to several daytime symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty waking up in the morning
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Sore throat or dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Chronic daytime fatigue
  • Chronic pain
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Problems concentrating
  • Depression
  • Falling asleep at the wheel
  • Mood swings

Left untreated, sleep apnea can put you at risk for many serious health conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, and stroke….and eventually death.  Sleep apnea is responsible for the death of roughly 30,000 Americans every year.

Treating Sleep Apnea

One of the most common sleep apnea treatment methods is called CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). This machine forces air into your lungs through a mask that you wear over your face or nose at night. While these machines are very effective at treating sleep apnea, the cumbersome mask often makes it difficult to sleep at all, defeating the purpose of the device.

For patients who have difficulty with CPAP, Dr. Gross offers an adjunct to CPAP or an alternative treatment method: oral sleep appliances. These custom-made devices fit snugly over your teeth, keeping your airway open and unobstructed at night so you can breathe freely. The vast majority of our patients have success with these appliances, finding them far more comfortable and unobtrusive than the CPAP mask.

We work closely with a local sleep lab to ensure proper the customization of your sleep apnea treatment. The specific FDA approved oral sleep appliances we offer are:

  • SomnoDent® – Backed by over 7 years of clinical research, this oral device fits over upper and lower teeth to relax the muscles in the mouth and throat, keeping your airways open and helping you breathe freely throughout the night.
  • The Herbst Appliance – This mandibular re-positioning device has been used for years in TMJ and headache therapy, but is also incredibly effective at treating chronic snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea.

The type of oral appliance that is best for you will depend on your particular needs and the type of sleep apnea you have. Dr. Gross will monitor the effectiveness of your sleep apnea treatment with a Level 3 take-home sleep monitor. We will also work with experienced sleep doctors to modify and adjust your treatment as needed.

If you suffer from symptoms of sleep apnea and are interested in oral sleep appliance therapy, please contact Dr. Timothy Gross today to discuss your treatment options. We serve patients in the Hilton Head Island, Bluffton and surrounding areas of South Carolina.