What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious and potentially life-threatening breathing disorder that causes brief interruptions of breathing during sleep. At North Bramalea Dental, we understand the importance of proper diagnosis and treatment for sleep apnea, and we are here to help. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one type of sleep apnea and is characterized by symptoms such as snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping or choking during the night, non-refreshed sleep, fragmented sleep, clouded memory, irritability, personality changes, decreased sex drive, impotence, and morning headaches.
There are several factors that can contribute to OSA, including age, obesity, alcohol consumption, and sedative hypnotics. Children can also experience OSA, often due to enlarged adenoids, tonsils, or swollen nasal mucosa.
If left untreated, snoring and sleep apnea may lead to or worsen:
Currently, OSA is defined as a medical problem and must be diagnosed by a medical doctor or sleep physician. However, the dental profession plays an important role in the treatment of patients with OSA, as oral appliances are an effective treatment option for mild to moderate cases.
In addition to oral appliances, other treatment options for OSA include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and surgical removal of nasal or oral obstructions. At our dental practice, we are dedicated to educating our patients, the public and the medical profession about the importance of oral appliances in the treatment of sleep apnea. We offer a range of oral appliances tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient, and our team is here to help you get the restful sleep you deserve.
Before fabricating an oral appliance
It is important for patients to first undergo a sleep study at a hospital, private sleep clinic, or through a home sleep study. This will provide detailed information about the patient’s sleep patterns and any breathing disruptions that may be occurring. The results of the sleep study will then be evaluated by a medical sleep specialist, who will determine if an oral appliance is the appropriate treatment option. Once the medical sleep specialist has reviewed the sleep study and determined that an oral appliance is appropriate, they will send the report to the dentist, who can then proceed to create the oral appliance tailored to the patient’s specific needs.
Benefits of Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea Prevention
Oral appliances are a highly effective treatment option for preventing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition that occurs when the tongue falls back and blocks the airway for ten seconds or more during sleep. This can be especially problematic for patients who sleep on their back, as it makes it easier for the tongue to fall back and obstruct the airway.
Oral appliances work by gently moving the lower jaw and tongue forward, helping to open the airway and prevent the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway. These appliances are designed to be comfortable and easy to wear, and they are custom-fit to the patient’s mouth, making them an ideal treatment option for those suffering from sleep apnea. With the help of an oral appliance, patients can finally achieve the restful sleep they need to feel refreshed and energized throughout the day.
Types of Oral Appliances:
This oral appliance features upper and lower parts that fit comfortably over the back teeth. The lower jaw is held forward with changeable straps on the side, allowing for easy movement and yawning. It also has a large tongue space, does not touch the front teeth, and has a large space at the front for mouth breathing. The appliance is flexible and durable with a 3-year breakage guarantee, and the straps can be changed by the patient to adjust the jaw position. It’s small, comfortable and Metal-free.
This oral appliance also has upper and lower parts that fit comfortably over the teeth. The lower jaw is held forward with two interlocking parts on the side (Dorsal Fins) that allow for jaw movement. The patient can adjust the appliance by turning two side screws, which will help reduce snoring and sleep apnea. Adjustments should be made slowly, with a minimal increment of ¼ mm every 3 days, to avoid any jaw joint problems. The SomnoDent is highly durable and is expected to last for 10 years or more. It also has adequate tongue space and a large space at the front for mouth breathing.
If you think you or someone you know may have obstructive sleep apnea, please call our office at 905-793-5900 for a consultation and we will be glad to help you!
Book an Appointment
Don’t put off your bi-annual check-up and cleaning. Book an appointment today with North Bramalea Dental and take control of your oral health.