Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing the soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. Snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, irritability, fatigue and insomnia are all signs that you could be losing shut-eye to sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can be a potentially life threatening condition. It can increase the risk for other serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.
The traditionally prescribed treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. It involves sleeping with a face mask connected by tubing to a constantly running machine. Although CPAP is effective, up to half of patients don’t adhere to the treatment. Dentists can provide an alternate sleep solution with oral appliance therapy.
Dental sleep medicine is a growing segment of dentistry that focuses on managing snoring and sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is an effective alternative to the standard continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask. Dr. Malahias has been designated as a Qualified Dentist by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. For more information about AADSM, visit www.aadsm.org
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that fits easily into your lifestyle. A dental oral appliance looks like a sports mouth guard and is worn only during sleep. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway, preventing sleep apnea and snoring.
Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a sleep physician, a dentist experienced in dental sleep medicine can make a custom-fitted oral appliance using impressions and models of your teeth. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans. Patients like it because it’s comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, convenient for travel and easy to clean.
Treating snoring or sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. Custom-fit oral appliances from Bridgeworks Family Dental Center can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
Many patients prefer oral appliance therapy as a solution for living with sleep apnea. It provides them much improved sleep and offers the following benefits:
It can be hard to sleep with a CPAP machine and bulky mask. Patients often like oral appliances because they are comfortable and easier to wear, especially for those who change positions during sleep or snuggle their bed partner.
A CPAP machine may silence the snoring, but its constantly running motor might not help you or your bed partner sleep more soundly. Oral appliance therapy is a silent option that can minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, without making a peep of its own.
It can be difficult to travel with a bulky CPAP machine. A compact, lightweight oral appliance can help lessen your load.
It is super easy to care for an oral appliance. Just a toothbrush cleaning with mild soap will keep your appliance germ-free.
Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to CPAP. When patients consistently wear their oral appliance, they wake up each morning feeling refreshed.
If you have concerns about snoring and sleep apnea, it may be time to make an appointment. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, we can recommend a sleep physician to help get you started on your path to treatment. If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can fit you with an oral appliance. Our team at Bridgeworks Family Dental Center is ready to answer your questions about obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy.