A not so silent killer, sleep apnea can be very serious if left untreated and your dentist can help
Many Americans suffer from sleep disordered breathing which not only causes snoring and sleep apnea, but has been show to exacerbate the effects of other co-factors such as high blood pressure and COPD. Recent studies have linked patients with sleep apnea to higher risk of cancer and stroke. Patients with a mild form of the disease and/or have a problem complying with other treatments, such as CPAP, can be candidates for dental sleep appliances. These comfortable devices resemble an upper and lower night guard and work by bringing the lower jaw forward so that the airway is widened.
Drs. Yeremi Canizales are Amanda McPherson 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 one of just a few locations in Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties that offer insurance-credentialed Dental Sleep Medicine providers with certain insurance companies.
Dental Sleep Medicine can enable some patients who can not tolerate the common treatment of CPAP therapy to have an excellent alternative, that in many cases can be covered by medical insurance.
We screen all of our patients for possible sleep related breathing disorders as a part of our airway evaluation and oral cancer screening. If you think you may be suffering from sleep disordered breathing or if you've been advised to seek alternative therapies from your physician, contact us for a free consultation.
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