Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious disorder where breathing during sleep repeatedly stops. Those suffering from sleep apnea may present with the following symptoms:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes where breathing stops as reported by a bed partner
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime sleepiness and irritability
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
Often physicians and dentists will notice certain signs or symptoms that suggest a patient may be suffering from sleep apnea. A formal diagnosis is made with a sleep study. Once confirmed, the goal is to provide treatment that prevents the patient from stopping breathing at night. A frequently used medical device prescribed by physicians to treatment sleep apnea is the CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Many physicians now realize that dentists can be the frontline providers in providing early diagnosis and offer therapy that common medical treatment cannot provide. Because most patients see their dentists twice a year and the dentist’s main focus is the mouth, it’s obvious that there’s a good chance a properly trained dentist is going to be the first person to recognize there is a problem.
While medical devices such as CPAP or BiPap are frequently used and are the gold standard to address obstructive sleep apnea, some patients cannot tolerate those machines. For those patients, an oral appliance can offer the proper therapy to manage their condition.
Dental Appliance for Sleep Apnea
Using a dental appliance has the following advantages:
- Comfortable and easy to wear
- Convenient for travel
- Easy to care for