A CPAP Alternative You Can Live With
Sleep Effect Center for Apnea Management provides a dental alternative to conventional apnea management techniques. Instead of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or other pressure breathing machines, your apnea is controlled using oral dilator devices (oral appliances), which open the airway by gently moving your lower jaw forward while you sleep. The effectiveness is well proven and is suggested as first line therapy for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or for people who cannot tolerate breathing machines, by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
Sleep breathing disorders are serious, life threatening health issues and should not be ignored. Dental sleep medicine offers a comfortable, convenient, effective solution.
Managing obstructive sleep apnea
Historically, sleep apnea has been managed by the use of a pressurized breathing machine called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), bi-PAP, or other names. They typically involve the use of a compressor, a humidifier, a hose and a mask, which delivers air under pressure to help keep the airway from collapsing. It has been shown to be very effective at controlling obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, and absolutely if you have severe apnea and can tolerate it, you should use it. However, the list of reasons why many people don’t use the machine is quite long and includes inconvenience, discomfort, noise, claustrophobia, lifestyle and more.
Alternative apnea management may include the following:
Oral Appliance Therapy
A dentist with specialized training and Apnea education in dental sleep medicine can provide you with a custom oral airway dilator for use at night. Similar in appearance to orthodontic retainers or a sports mouth guard, they fit over your teeth and work by either moving your lower jaw forward slightly or by placing gentle pressure on the tongue to keep it from falling back.
Oral appliance therapy (OAT) involves the selection, customized design, fitting and follow-up adjustments of an oral appliance. Every OSA patient has specific needs. Sleep medicine dentists are the only dentists trained to properly manage sleep apnea as opposed to simply minimizing snoring. At Sleep Effect, a number of different oral appliances are available providing the patient the broadest range of oral appliance options. The healthcare providers at Sleep Effect may ask their patients to have a follow-up sleep study to ensure the apnea therapy management is working.
Oral appliances are a safe and effective alternative to CPAP and other pressure breathing machines. This is important to know as nearly 70% of people with apnea cannot tolerate breathing machines like CPAP.
For people that experience snoring and perhaps have mild OSA, weight loss can decrease the severity of snoring or apnea. Weight loss alone may help some, but not all. Avoiding alcohol, drugs, muscle relaxers and tobacco products can also help reduce or eliminate the presence of snoring.
Positional Therapy involves side-sleeping instead of sleeping on one’s back. This shift keeps weight of a person’s neck from collapsing on his or her airway. It may help some, but not all people with snoring.
Surgeons, including dentists who are oral and maxillofacial surgeons, can use a variety of methods to treat upper airway obstruction. These specialists can treat snoring and apnea causes using minimally invasive procedures as well as more complex surgery. Additionally, an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist may remove any excess tissue in the throat and nasal passages. It may be necessary to remove tonsils and adenoids, the uvula or even parts of the soft palate and the throat.
Advantages of oral appliances
Oral Appliance Therapy has several key advantages over other forms of therapy:
◦ Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find that it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimated to wearing the appliance.
◦ Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
◦ Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive.
◦ Treatment with oral appliances is ideal for people who are claustrophobic.
Oral appliances as an alternative device are covered, at least in part, by most insurance companies. If you want help to determine what coverage is available through your insurance carrier, please call our office. Our Billing Administrator will be glad to help.
Currently, Sleep Effect is offering a complimentary consultation to determine if oral appliance therapy may be appropriate for you.To schedule your consultation, call 928.778.4555 now.
Dr. Goodwin is happy to announce the addition of MATRx technology to his practice which will now allow patients to be pretested, at a sleep center, and determine whether or not oral appliance therapy will be effective for them.
‘Now we know’ is a new catchphrase at our office and the success rate goal for oral appliance therapy is in excess of 95%!
It is necessary for a physician to provide a final diagnosis prior to treatment. This diagnostic testing is done by an overnight polysomnography, commonly known as a sleep study. These tests are performed at a sleep center. They study the average number of partial and complete breaks in breathing that occur per hour of sleep.
Although dentists cannot diagnose sleep apnea, they can consult and provide screening examinations including take-home sleep monitors. After an individual has been diagnosed with sleep apnea by a physician, a dentist specializing in dental sleep medicine can participate in apnea management therapy and can customize oral devices as an alternative for breathing machines (generally in mild to moderate cases of OSA or when patients are not in compliance with pressure breathing machines such as CPAP).
It is important for a dentist to be properly trained in the field of dental sleep medicine, which can included membership in academies such as the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
You should know there is no cure for sleep apnea. However, there are a variety of options for effective sleep apnea management to control sleep apnea. Consult with your healthcare provider as to which options are best suited for you.