If you have been diagnosed with mild or moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea or if you are unable to wear a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), you may be helped by Oral Appliance Therapy. An Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea consists of a custom-fitted device which fits over the upper and lower teeth and maintains an open airway during sleep. Oral Appliance Therapy is endorsed by both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
What If I Just Snore?
Simple snoring is quite common and may be completely harmless (at least for the sleep partner doing the snoring). Although simple snoring does involve some obstruction of the upper airway, it is relatively harmless as long as it is only a partial obstruction. It is not safe, however, for someone to assume that they “just snore”. If your sleep partner reports that your snoring involves gasping for air or choking sounds, or if you feel drowsy and fall asleep at inappropriate times during the day, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Only a physician trained in sleep medicine can make the diagnosis.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical disorder because it causes the body to stop breathing for up to one minute with each event. While sleeping, especially on your back, the muscles in your throat will relax and the tongue may drop back and totally block the airway, reducing oxygen flow to the rest of the body, including the heart and brain. Once the blood-oxygen level drops low enough, the body momentarily wakes up and gasps a new breath. This cycle can be repeated many times per hour.
Sleep Apnea Dentist
The management of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and simple snoring is an important part of a comprehensive oral health treatment plan. Because dental practices usually see their patients at regular three to six month intervals for hygiene re-care appointments, a dentist with additional training is the ideal professional to pick up on the symptoms of upper airway obstruction. A patient thought to be at risk will be referred to a medical sleep specialist for evaluation. Once a positive diagnosis for mild or moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been made, the physician will usually recommend an Oral Appliance as one of the treatment options. The CPAP is always the treatment of choice for severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea. However, in cases where the patient is unable to wear the CPAP, the physician may recommend an Oral Appliance.
Oral Appliances For Snoring
Our dental practice welcomes new patients who are health oriented and are interested in a proactive approach to their oral health. Whether you have been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea, you seek a solution to simple snoring or you are in need of restorative or esthetic dental procedures, the best place to begin is with a comprehensive oral examination.
To get more information about Oral Appliance Therapy or to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive oral examination, please contact our Atlanta Sleep Apnea Treatment Practice. We look forward to serving you.