A not so silent killer, sleep apnea can be very serious if left untreated and your dentist can help
Drs. Amanda McPherson and Yeremi Canizales are Dental Sleep Medicine Experts. They bring a vast amount of addtional experience and training in treating patients with sleep disordered breathing. Severn River Dental Health Center is is one of just a few locations in Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties that offers credentialed Dental Sleep Medicine providers with several major insurance companies. This means that patients who are not able to tolerate the common treatment of CPAP therapy have an excellent alternative provided by very knowledgable doctors and coverage by medical insurance is usually available!
We screen all of our patients for possible breathing issues as a part of our airway evaluation and oral cancer screening. If you think you may be suffereing from sleep disordered breathing, our doctors will collaborate with their colleagues in the medical field to get a diagnosis and a treatment that meets your needs.
FAQ's about Sleep and Snoring
What is sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissue in a person’s throat repeatedly collapses and blocks the airway during sleep.
These partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing typically last between 10 and 30 seconds, but can persist for one minute or longer. These pauses can happen hundreds of times a night, leading to abrupt reductions in blood oxygen levels.
The brain alerts the body to its lack of oxygen, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing. The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often leads to excessive daytime sleepiness.
Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They then make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when the airway reopens.
How does oral appliance therapy work?
Custom made oral appliances reposition the tongue and lower jaw forward during sleep to maintain an open airway. Dentists trained in dental sleep medicine know how to select, fabricate, fit and adjust these devices, which look like mouth guards, the help patients breath freely during sleep.
Follow-up visits and post-adjustment sleep studies help dentists determine if oral appliance therapy is effectively treating their patients’ sleep apnea.
Dentists are able to help physician diagnosis sleep apnea, and are many times the first health care provider to ask the questions that lead o sleep testing.
Who should use and oral appliance?
Oral Appliance Therapy is indicated for mild to moderate OSA patients if the prefer it to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), the standard treatment therapy, cannot tolerate a CPAP, or are unable to use positional therapy or weight loss to control their apnea.
Oral appliances are also recommended for several OSA patients if they cannot tolerate a CPAP. Patients with severe OSA should always try CPAP before considering oral appliance therapy.
Untreated OSA Increases Your Risk for:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Driving and work related accidents
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Memory loss
- Morning headaches
- Decreased sex drive
- Impaired concentration