Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Dental Sleep Medicine is not the same thing as Dentistry.
Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of practice that focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy and upper airway surgery.
Dental Sleep Medicine (DSM) is a branch of medicine dedicated to the research and use of oral appliances and dental surgery for the treatment of sleep disordered breathing. Dentists together with sleep physicians work together to respond to the challenges of health risks associated with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This partnership tasks physicians with the recognition and diagnosis of sleep disorders, while dentists provide the treatment.
Signs of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea patient are often older, obese and have thick necks, but men and women of any age or body type can have sleep apnea.
The sleep disorder progressively worsens with age and weight gain. Listed below are some common signs of sleep apnea:
- Unintentionally falling asleep during the day
- General daytime sleepiness
- Unrefreshed sleep
- Waking from sleep with a choking sound or gasping for breath
- Loud snoring
Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening medical disorder that causes your body to stop breathing during sleep. The muscles in your throat relax and the tongue may fall back and block the airway as you sleep, 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. The breathing pauses from sleep cause your body to briefly wake while you remain unaware. This can happen hundreds of times per night, and you may wake up feeling tired and unrefreshed.
In addition to snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness, sleep apnea can cause memory loss, morning headaches, irritability, depression, decreased sex drive and impaired concentration. When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to hypertension, stroke, heart attack and sudden death while asleep. This sleep disorder progressively worsens with age and weight gain.
If you are suffering from these symptoms, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Traditional treatment for the disorder is the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, or CPAP, but this treatment is not suitable for or tolerated by everyone. Oral Appliances have been proven an effective treatment, either as an alternative or adjunct treatment to the CPAP, for patients with mild to moderate OSA. North County Dental Sleep Medicine and San Diego Dental Sleep Medicine can supply these appliances. We’re happy to include it as part of our comprehensive vision for existing dental patients, and gladly welcome our sleep dentistry patients to our family.
Our offices serve as a professional reference for our patients’ concerns. If you suspect that you or your partner have sleep apnea, or any other sleep disorder, we are here to give you perspective. YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE A DENTAL PATIENT TO MAKE AN APPOINTMENT regarding your sleep-related concerns.
There are various sleep appliances available to treat OSA. The two that we use most often are the EMA Appliance and the SomnoDent appliance from SomnoMed. These appliances work to maintain the upper airway patency by increasing its dimension and reducing collapsibility. The benefits of oral appliances include travel to places where electricity is not available (camping, etc), and treatment for patients who are CPAP intolerant.
Follow-up and Continuity of Care
We have the ability to provide in-home sleep testing which, when combined with Oral Appliance Therapy, gives us valuable feedback as to how effective your appliance is for you. These tests are then evaluated by a physician, the results of which are sent back to our office to review with you. What this study does is measure the oxygen levels and any disturbances you experience when using your oral device (also known as titration) and allows us to achieve optimal results for every individual.
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