Sleep Apnea

At Chestnut Dental, we are pleased to offer sleep apnea services with our expert, Dr. Sharon Jin.


Meet our dental sleep medicine expert, Dr. Sharon Jin.

Millions of people suffer from preventable and treatable sleep disorders. As a provider of full-spectrum dental care, Chestnut Dental can help find a treatment plan that works for you. Dr. Sharon Jin is our resident expert in dental sleep medicine. Together, you and Dr. Jin can find out how dental devices and sleep aids can help you get a good night’s rest.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that interferes with healthy breathing patterns during sleep. Typically patients with sleep apnea will experience breathing that starts and stop noisily during sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to heart disease and other medical conditions. Many cases of sleep apnea can be treated by a special device recommended by Dr. Jin.

Though snoring is a primary symptom of sleep apnea, not all people who snore actually have sleep apnea. As many as 50 percent of Americans snore at some time, whether occasionally or chronically. However, only 20 percent of American adults have sleep apnea. So how do you know the difference? Harmless snoring does not interfere with breathing patterns. Sleep apnea, on the other hand, causes breathing cessations and sometimes ‘gasping’ during sleep.

10 Signs You May Suffer from Sleep Apnea

The signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Your breathing stops while you sleep
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headache
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability
  • Depression from lack of quality sleep

Treatment Options

Mandibular Repositioning Devices

Mandibular repositioning devices (MRDs) reposition your lower jaw forward and slightly downward to keep your airway open while you sleep. The MRD looks similar to a sports mouthguard and holds your jaw in a certain position. MRDs are the most common oral appliances solution for sleep apnea.

Tongue Retaining Devices

Tongue Retaining Devices (TRD) hold your tongue in place so that it does not block your airway. TRDs come in different shapes and styles, but the most common looks like a reverse pacifier in which you place your tongue while you sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need treatment for sleep apnea?

You may need to see a doctor if you or your partner have been awakened by your chronic snoring and/or gasping for air. Though this condition can be very dangerous, your doctor can help you discover ways of managing sleep apnea and protecting healthy breathing during sleep.

How will my doctor screen for sleep apnea?

Your doctor’s first goal will be to determine whether your snoring is benign or a symptom of sleep apnea. This may be determined by speaking with you and your partner about your symptoms. If you do not have a partner who can confirm snoring or breathing interruptions, your doctor may request a sleep study.

What is a sleep study and how does it work?

Polysomnography, commonly known as a sleep study, is a process used to diagnose sleep disorders. The sleep study device records your brain waves, the oxygen level in your blood, heart rate, breathing, as well as eye and leg movements during the study.

The sleep study can be done at a sleep center or at home depending on the severity of your sleep apnea. Additional sleep studies may be necessary to monitor the progress of your sleep apnea treatment and make adjustments as needed.

What types of treatments are available for people with sleep apnea?

There are many ways to treat the symptoms of sleep apnea. This may include conservative methods, such as a new sleeping position or the use of an oral appliance. If your apnea symptoms are severe or initial treatments are not working, you may be prescribed a continuous positive airway pressure device (CPAP) to open the airway. In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Keep in mind that a diagnosis of sleep apnea is not always permanent. Many patients find that weight loss can be an effective way of opening the airway during sleep.

Dental sleep medicine focuses on the use of oral appliances to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is when the muscles at the back of your throat relax which allows other tissues to block your airway. Sometimes your tongue is the culprit that blocks your airway. Oral appliance therapy is a method of using devices designed to keep your airway open and have you sleeping comfortably through the night. 

Oral appliance therapy involves wearing a removable oral mouthpiece while you sleep. The mouthpiece fits much like a mouthguard or retainer and is made of soft material to ensure comfort as you sleep. There are several types of oral appliances to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Although each device may appear slightly different, there are only two main types of oral appliances:

Why Choose Chestnut Dental for Sleep Apnea Services?

If you are suffering from sleep apnea or you are concerned that your partner is suffering from sleep apnea, speak to Dr. Jin at Chestnut Dental. Dr. Jin and her team can find the best solution for you and your lifestyle that will keep you sleeping peacefully through the night. Call to schedule your appointment at our Needham location today.