Dental Sleep Medicine
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a major health issue that often goes undiagnosed and untreated. 24% of adult males and 9% of the adult females in the United States would qualify as having OSA based on their Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI)[i]. Plus, a resounding 80-90 percent of adults remain undiagnosed according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine[ii].
The research is starting to show us that dentists can and should be the first line in diagnosing and treating sleep apnea. The worlds of sleep medicine and dentistry have been rapidly colliding over the last handful of years. The key to diagnosing OSA early is evaluating the structures of the oral cavity and ensuring there is proper oral volume. Is there a profession better trained than dentists at evaluating this?
Sleep Medicine considers the gold standard for treatment for OSA to be positive airway pressure (PAP or CPAP), despite poor patient tolerance and acceptance. There are other options that patients are unaware of.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Dentists can treat sleep apnea by fabricating Oral Appliances which advance the mandible and the associated soft tissues, while the patients sleep. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) has proved to be very successful in treating mild to modern OSA and those severe OSA patients who refuse CPAP or don’t respond to it.[iii] 76% of patients tolerate OAT compared to 43% PAP.
The oral appliance can be fabricated in our office in two short visits. During the first visits, our doctors will scan your teeth using a digital impression camera. The dentists will send those records to a dental technician who will fabricate your appliance. The 2nd visit entails fitting the appliance and ensuring a proper comfortable fit.
If you or your significate other snores, doesn’t sleep well, or has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy may be a great alternative to CPAP therapy.