We’re concerned about the overall health of our patients, including sleep health. Many people suffer needlessly from dangerous sleep disruptive disorders that keep them from getting enough oxygen at night. The risk of a heart attack is 23 times more likely than average with a sleep disorder, and 92% of stroke victims live unknowingly with this condition before an attack. Our training allows us to offer you education and treatment surrounding sleep health in the simplest and most cost-effective way possible.
Estimates suggest that more than twelve million Americans compromise their health due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Most cases remain undiagnosed, contributing to diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and traffic accidents related to drowsy driving. Dentistry serves a vital role in treating this silent epidemic. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as a primary therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and for patients with severe sleep apnea who can’t tolerate CPAP treatment.
What is OSA?
OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway. Obstructions occur when throat muscles, tongue, tonsils, or the soft palate falls back into the throat. The obstruction results in a severe drop in blood oxygen levels throughout the night.
OSA is typically diagnosed using a polysomnogram or a sleep study. During a sleep study, a sleep physician monitors brain activity and body system functioning while a patient rests overnight at a sleep lab. The specialist evaluates the data collected during the study to diagnose sleep disorders and recommends treatment. If indicated by the sleep doctor, a dentist trained in sleep medicine works with him/her to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. In some cases, a home sleep study may also be possible instead of reporting to a sleep lab.
How Is OSA Treated?
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances provide the least invasive option and often a good choice for treatment of mild to moderate OSA. A carefully calibrated appliance can comfortably help hold the jaw in a precise position throughout the night, allowing critical oxygen flow.
All treatment recommendations should be made in consultation with your sleep physician. Once a treatment path that you can use consistently is chosen, we may be able to provide critical support for your efforts. If appliance therapy is selected, it’s essential the right method and positioning are designed to specifically maintain your airway.