Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing the soft tissues of the throat to collapse and block the airway. When the oxygen level drops low enough, the brain moves out of deep sleep and the individual partially awakens. The airway then opens, causing the obstruction in the throat to clear. The flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. When the airflow starts again, the individual then moves back into a deep sleep. The cycle can repeat itself many times a night. As a result, sleep apnea can cause 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 valuable shut-eye to sleep apnea. 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 as well as increasing the likelihood of work-related and driving related accidents.
Since OSA is a serious medical condition, it must be diagnosed by a physician. Diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study, either a Polysomnogram (PSG) in a lab or a Home Sleep Study (HST). There are a number of factors that can indicate a high risk of OSA, such as snoring and obesity. Creative Dental Solutions uses a screening tool called the STOP-BANG Sleep Apnea Questionnaire, which helps to identify patients who are at risk for OSA.
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. As a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Sevey works with sleep physicians to determine the best course of therapy for patients with OSA.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, noninvasive treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that fits easily into your lifestyle. A dental oral appliance looks like a sports mouthguard 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, Dr. Sevey can make a custom-fitted oral appliance using impressions and models of your teeth. Oral appliance therapy may have some coverage by many medical insurance plans and Medicare. 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 Creative Dental Solutions can improve your sleep, restore your alertness, and revitalize your health.
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 set up an appointment to evaluate you and help get you started on your path to treatment. If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, Dr. Sevey can evaluate whether you are a candidate for an oral appliance. Our team at Creative Dental Solutions is ready to answer your questions about obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine, and oral appliance therapy.
For more information on sleep apnea treatment in Bangor, Maine or the surrounding areas, contact us today at Creative Dental Solutions.
**We are now a Medicare-approved provider for sleep apnea oral appliances!**
Click HERE to complete patient forms for a sleep consultation with Dr. Sevey.
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