Sleep Apnea is a common condition that disrupts the sleep of many Americans. It is characterized by pauses in breathing while a patient is asleep. In addition to disrupting sleep and causing daytime drowsiness, it can sometimes be life threatening. Cosmetic and Family Dentistry provides a Sleep Apnea treatment with the Somnodent as well as complete preventative dental care.
Some symptoms of Sleep Apnea include snoring and waking up feeling restless and with very little energy. If you think you may have Sleep Apnea, Debra Reiner can work with your sleep therapists and sleep study clinic to determine if you suffer from this condition. If it is found that you do suffer from Sleep Apnea, typically the golden rule is treatment with the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) or BPAP (Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure) machine with the a sleep therapist physician overseeing the treatment. But many times these devices become uncomfortable and go unworn, causing the apnea to return. Dr. Reiner offers treatment with a mouthpiece called SomnoDent® that is designed for sleep apnea to help open your airway, creating healthy breathing.
Other risk factors for sleep apnea include: having a small upper airway (or large tongue, tonsils, or uvula); having a recessed chin, small jaw, or a large overbite; smoking and alcohol use; and being age 40 or older. Also, sleep apnea appears to run in some families, suggesting a possible genetic basis
Worn during sleep, continuous open airway therapy is a first line treatment option for people with mild to moderate sleep apnea and consists of devices that have two components which fit over the upper and lower teeth. These oral devices are comfortable and simple for patients to use which is why many patients prefer the SomnoDent® to other options. Someone with sleep apnea who doesn’t respond to or doesn’t tolerate treatment with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), a SomnoDent oral device may be recommended.
The SomnoDent is a custom-made oral appliance for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). SomnoDent® is worn during sleep to provide Continuous Open Airway Therapy (COAT) by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. This movement tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway, which prevents obstructive apneas while you sleep.
How do you get a SomnoDent® Device?
A sleep physician will diagnose you with OSA and determine the most effective treatment option for you. After the physician prescribes COAT therapy, a qualified sleep dentist like Dr. Debra Reiner will conduct a thorough oral exam to confirm your oral health status, as well as ensure you are dentally appropriate for the device. Dental impressions and a bite registration are required to fabricate the SomnoDent®. These items are then sent to SomnoMed® where the device is made. Once customized for you, the device will be fitted by the dentist, who will instruct you on how to insert and remove it by yourself, including how to clean and care for it.
Traditional Treatments For Sleep Apnea:
CPAP machines have been the go-to treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP machines deliver a steady, continuous stream of pressurized air to patient's airways to prevent them from collapsing and causing apnea events. After a CPAP titration study, your sleep technician and doctor will determine the pressure settings for your CPAP machine and set the machine to deliver that exact amount of pressure continuously. CPAP machines can only be set to a single pressure that remains consistent throughout the night. However, many CPAP machines have a ramp feature that starts off with a lower pressure setting and gradually builds to the prescribed pressure. This comfort feature simply makes the pressure at the beginning more tolerable and less immediate, once the pressure builds to the required setting, the CPAP then stays at that setting for the rest of the night. While the majority of patients are prescribed a CPAP machine when they are initially diagnosed with OSA, various studies report CPAP compliance rates are at or below 50% after about 2 years of use of the machine.
BiPAPs are an alternative machine to CPAP and can be set to include a breath timing feature that measures the amount of breaths per minute a person should be taking. If the time between breaths exceeds the set limit, the machine can force the person to breath by temporarily increasing the air pressure. The main difference between BiPAP and CPAP machines is that BiPAP machines have two pressure settings: the prescribed pressure for inhalation (ipap), and a lower pressure for exhalation (epap). The dual settings allow the patient to get more air in and out of their lungs.
Who Would Benefit from BiPAP Therapy?
BiPAP machines are often prescribed to sleep apnea patients with high pressure settings or low oxygen levels and are often used after CPAP has failed to adequately treat certain patients. BiPAPs can be helpful for patients with cardiopulmonary disorders such as congestive heart failure. And are often prescribed to people with lung disorders or certain neuromuscular disorders.
Other Considerations For Treament of Sleep Apnea:
Excess weight can add tissue to the neck that presses and restricts airways, leading to the vibrations that produce snores. One of the simplest predictors of sleep apnea is a neck size greater than 17.5 inches. People who gain a few pounds every year may develop sleep apnea, but if they gained the weight and then started snoring, losing the weight may help alleviate the snoring. Not to mention, losing excess weight carries a number of additional health benefits!
A surgical approach may be an alternative to create an open airway. The goal of surgery is to create a more open airway so obstructions are less likely to occur. Surgery can be quite invasive and sometimes worsen the apnea. There are several different surgical procedures with varying degrees of success.
While the FDA has approved nasal valves for the treatment of sleep apnea, they’re one-time use, and not exactly cheap.
If you or a loved one has sleep apnea and would like to hear about a treatment option that can help both your condition
and your relationship, contact our dental team at:
Dr. Debra Reiner Cosmetic and Family Dentistry 734-847-1955 for a SomnoDent® sleep apnea appliance consultation.
The material contained on this website is offered as information only and not as professional advice. Users should consult their own dental professionals for such advice.