Is an Oral Appliance for Obstructive Sleep Apnea Right for You?
Obstructive sleep apnea is very common and potentially life-threatening medical disorder that prevents airflow during sleep. It is estimated that 1 in 4 men and 1 in 10 women have at least mild sleep apnea. Unfortunately, many of these patients are undiagnosed.
A mandibular advancement appliance works by repositioning and stabilizing the lower jaw. This treatment improves snoring and sleep apnea in many patients and is well tolerated by most all patients. In addition, oral appliances are lightweight and do not make noise, making them easy to travel with. While an oral appliance is not ideal for every patient with sleep apnea, the majority of patients see a benefit when using their appliance. Please contact our office to find out more about this non-invasive treatment option!
About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea occurs when tissue in the back of the throat and soft palate collapses and blocks the airway, reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to all of your organs including your heart and brain. People with sleep apnea may snore loudly and stop breathing for short periods of time. When the blood-oxygen level drops low enough, the body momentarily wakes up. It can happen so fast that you may not be aware you woke up. This can happen hundreds of times a night, and you may wake up in the morning not feeling refreshed.
In addition to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased sex drive and impaired concentration. Sleep apnea patients have a much higher risk of stroke and heart problems, such as heart attack, congestive heart failure and hypertension. Sleep apnea patients are also more likely to be involved in an accident at the workplace or while driving.
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard for treating sleep apnea. CPAP works by creating enough pressure in the throat to keep the tissues from collapsing. The amount of pressure varies from person to person. If you are using CPAP and it works well for you, then keep using CPAP, it is the gold standard in treatment!
Mandibular advancement appliances are another option for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea, or for patients who are intolerant of CPAP. Below are the standards of care from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
- Patients with primary snoring or mild OSA who do not respond to, or are not appropriate candidates for treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep-position change.
- Patients with moderate to severe OSA should have an initial trial of nasal CPAP, due to greater effectiveness with the use of oral appliances.
- Patients with moderate to severe OSA who are intolerant of or refuse treatment with nasal CPAP. Oral appliances are also indicated for patients who refuse treatment, or are not candidates for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, cranofacial operations, or tracheostomy.
At our office we have successfully treated all three of the classifications of patients listed above.
Why should you choose our office?
We believe that every patient presents a unique situation, with a unique story. We want to work together with you and your other health care providers to find the best solution for your situation. We have been treating sleep apnea in our practice since 2007, attended multiple continuing education courses and have the capability to bill medical insurances. There is a growing body of evidence showing the negative health consequences of untreated sleep apnea and we want to help be part of the solution to manage your disease and improve your life. Please feel free to ask our office any questions you may have.read more