IS IT SNORING OR IS IT SLEEP APNEA?
Millions of people suffer from sleep apnea and don't even know it. Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, and this means the brain -- and the rest of the body -- may not get enough oxygen. Our dental practice can help identify oral factors contributing to sleep apnea and provide an alternative to CPAP and surgeries to treat this serious problem using oral appliances.
PICKING A SLEEP APNEA DOCTOR IS A CHALLENGE
If you think that you might have sleep apnea, there are a wide variety of medical specialists you can consult. But an ever-increasing resource that people are turning to for help with sleep apnea is their local dentist.
Using state of the art systems, oral factors contributing to your sleep apnea can be identified. These include size of airway, now tongue position and much more.
It may be necessary to prescribe a sleep study to determine if you are experiencing sleep apnea during the night. This could occur in a dedicated facility or achieved with a home sleep study.
It’s important to find the right solution to treat your sleep apnea. With Dr. Storm’s experience and knowledge, she will find the treatment that fits your health needs and lifestyle.
YOUR DENTIST CAN TREAT SLEEP APNEA IN WAYS OTHER SPECIALISTS DON’T. Dentists are experts in understanding the inner-working of the mouth, tongue, and jaw. Furthermore, dentists routinely study the way this complicated system interacts. Sleep apnea is often caused by the relaxation of the tongue and throat during sleep, which causes an actual physical blockage that cuts off air to the lungs. In the forefront of sleep apnea treatments, are a wide range of dental devices that are designed to keep the airway open. These dental devices usually resemble retainer, or mouthguards, or the sort of insert designed to keep you from grinding your teeth. Some devices try to offset the position of the jaw (mandibular advancement) in order to open the airway, while others try to control the position of the tongue (tongue suppression) to achieve the same effect.
DENTAL DEVICES AND CPAP THERAPY
The number one way to treat sleep apnea is with CPAP Therapy. CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It is a machine that keeps one’s airway open during the night by blowing air through a mask while one sleeps. However, a large number of people just can’t or won’t use it. Some people feel claustrophobic while using the CPAP machine, while others cannot stand the whooping sound all night. Some people turn around during the night and tangled with the hoses. This is when you should consider a dental device. An oral appliance can also be worn with a CPAP; often, this allows the pressure on CPAP to be at a more comfortable pressure allowing the patient the best treatment.
A dental device may be a more acceptable and easier way to treat your sleep apnea. Also, it is more convenient and much easier to travel with.
CAN A DENTIST TREAT ALL SLEEP APNEA?
Dental devices are approved only for mild to moderate sleep apnea. However, recent studies have shown that oral devices are effective even at treating severe sleep apnea, especially if one cannot tolerate a CPAP. The first step is to find out, if any, what type of sleep apnea you are suffering from. A consultation with Dr. Julie Storm may be the easiest and most convenient way to get started on the process to treat your sleep apnea.