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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea Treatment at Village Dental

Sleep apnea is the condition in which a person stops breathing for more than ten seconds many times in a night. The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea, where the tongue and soft tissues block the airway. A very effective treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea that Village Dental offers is oral appliance therapy.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

The primary indication of sleep apnea is snoring, especially loud and continuous snoring. Of course, not all snorers have sleep apnea, but as both the snoring and the pauses in breathing occur during the night, many people who have sleep apnea are undiagnosed.

Another main indication of sleep apnea is a feeling of tiredness during the day despite a good number of hours of sleep.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common chronic condition wherein you pause in your breathing or your breathing becomes shallow while you are sleeping. The pauses in your breathing can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and can occur thirty or more times in an hour. Typically, normal breathing starts up again with loud snorts or a choking sound, and these occurrences alter your sleep pattern and can cause you to wake up or move around. Due to this irregular breathing, you may slip from a deep sleep into a lighter sleep. Consequentially, this change results in poor sleep quality and can leave you feeling tired during the day. In fact, sleep apnea is one of the leading causes of tiredness in adults.

The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This type of apnea, also known as OSA, happens when the soft tissue in a person’s throat collapses or is blocked, and this problem results in shallow breathing or pauses in breathing.

Central sleep apnea is a less common type of sleep apnea. This condition occurs when the part of your brain that controls your breathing does not send the correct signals to your breathing muscles. As a result, your efforts to breathe will be for brief periods only and will be interrupted. This condition is more common for people who have certain medical conditions or use certain medicines.

Sadly, sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors are not always able to detect the condition during routine office visits.  Furthermore, there are no blood tests for the condition. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea do not even know because it happens during sleep.

Sleep apnea causes victims to suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, which can contribute to serious health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, weight gain and diabetes.

Sleep Apnea Treatments

There are a number of different treatments that are available for this condition. The main treatments for obstructive sleep apnea are:

  • Oral Appliance Therapy: An excellent option for those who cannot find sleep success in CPAP therapy or are considered to have only mild to moderate sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy. This therapy can be used as an alternative treatment if the patient is intolerant or also used in combination with the CPAP. Approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as a first line of treatment option for mild to moderate sleep apnea sufferers, oral appliance therapy is offered by dentists who supply patients with an oral appliance that is similar to a mouth guard worn for sports or teeth grinding. This appliance works by moving the lower jaw forward slightly to keep the airway open during the night. Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear.
  • Weight loss: Obesity is often a factor in sleep apnea, as the increased weight can case the airway to be impacted by the soft tissues in the throat. Therefore, losing weight can help reduce or eliminate sleep apnea.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery can help by improving the soft tissue anatomy.
  • Sleep Positional Therapy: For some patients, sleeping on their backs can cause sleep apnea. Various methods are used to induce side sleeping. This is generally only a treatment for mild sleep apnea.

CPAP Intolerant Sleep Apnea Sufferers

Some people are intolerant to CPAP therapy, and others find it difficult to keep up with. In these cases, the oral appliance can be a very effective way of reducing the sleep apnea. Oral appliances are used for:

  • Patients with mild to moderate OSA who prefer oral appliances to CPAP
  • Those who do not respond to CPAP
  • Those are not appropriate candidates for CPAP
  • Those who fail treatment attempts with CPAP or treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep position change.

For patients already diagnosed with sleep apnea, Village Dental can simply fit you with an oral appliance.

Oral Appliance Therapy Procedures

When patients are suffering from sleep apnea, Village Dental can helpfully guide you through our standardized oral appliance therapy procedures. The process begins when you arrive at our office, where you will immediately receive a warm welcome and be asked to fill out some short questionnaires.
Next, you will move into your consultation, during which we will review your questionnaire results, discuss your symptoms and condition with you, and show you how oral appliance therapy works. If necessary, we can perform certain tests to assess the possible effectiveness of appliance therapy.
If you are ever diagnosed with sleep apnea, Village Dental custom designs an oral appliance for you. In a just a few brief visits, you will be fitted with your new appliance and be ready for a restful night’s sleep!

Free Sleep Apnea Consultation

At Village Dental, we offer a free consultation to determine if you may have sleep apnea. We utilize the Village Dental Care approach and a few different screening methods to check you for the condition, and if appropriate, we can arrange for a definitive diagnosis in a sleep center (required for any subsequent treatment).

To learn more or schedule a free consultation, contact us today.