- Why should I consult a dentist about my sleep concerns?
- If I snore, does that mean I have obstructive sleep apnea?
- Can a dental appliance stop snoring?
- Can a dental sleep appliance replace my CPAP machine?
Why should I consult a dentist about my sleep concerns?
Mild to moderate sleep apnea patients are among largest groups of patients that are not screened. However, dentists with advanced training in dental sleep medicine can be patients' first-line of defense against the potentially devastating cardiovascular, neurologic and interpersonal consequences of undiagnosed and untreated sleep-disordered breathing problems.
In our office, we use a state-of-the-art pharyngometer/rhinometer to measure your airway volume, determine whether or not your airway collapses, and evaluate your nasal turbinates (small, bony structures covered by mucous membranes that protrude into the nasal airway and help to warm, humidify and cleanse air as it is inhaled and before it reaches the lungs). Enlarged turbinates and nasal congestion can contribute to headaches and sleep disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, as the nasal airway is the normal breathing route during sleep.
In addition to screening for sleep disorders, qualified dentists can provide dental sleep medicine therapies to patients that suffer from snoring, sleep apnea and other sleep-disordered breathing problems. These therapies can often enable sleep patients to find effective alternative or adjunct therapies to traditional treatments for sleep disorders, including CPAP or surgery.
If I snore, does that mean I have obstructive sleep apnea?
Snoring is no laughing matter. Although often depicted comically, snoring should be taken seriously. It can disrupt your sleep as well as your partner's sleep. Snoring can also lead to sleep apnea by changing the structure of tissues. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.
If you've been told that you snore, or you suffer from excessive daytime sleepiness or shortness of breath upon awakening, consult your doctor. Today, patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea are among the largest groups of patients not screened. That said, the only way to determine with certainty if you have sleep apnea is by referral to an overnight sleep lab for a diagnostic polysomnographic (sleep) study. We are happy to you with names of sleep physicians and sleep labs that we work with upon request.
Can a dental appliance stop snoring?
For simple snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), oral appliance therapy is an excellent alternative to CPAP and/or surgery. Both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine endorse it.
When they are well made and used as directed by a qualified health professional, dental sleep appliances can put an end to snoring in the majority of patients. However, the success of these splint-like devices for any given patient cannot be determined without a complete dental sleep examination.
In our practice, we use six (6) different FDA-approved oral appliances to successfully treat snoring as well as other types of sleep-disordered breathing problems. To achieve maximum results, each of these splint-like devices must be customized and precision-fit to each patient. One size does not fit all, which is why you should be evaluated and treated for snoring by a dentist with advanced training and expertise in dental sleep medicine.
Can a dental sleep appliance replace my CPAP machine?
At their annual meeting in 1995, the American Sleep Disorders Association adopted a resolution, which formally accepted dental appliance therapy for treatment of snoring and mild sleep apnea. They also extended the recommendation to include dental appliance therapy for treatment of moderate and severe cases of sleep apnea. This is especially encouraging news, since nationally only 45% of patients using CPAP machines continue to use them. We cannot determine with certainty whether or not you are a candidate for dental sleep appliance without a comprehensive sleep evaluation by our office. However, we can tell you that increasing numbers of patients are successfully using oral sleep appliances as both alternatives and adjuncts to standard therapies, including CPAP and surgery.