“Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which you have one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They may occur 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound. Sleep apnea is usually a chronic condition that disrupts your sleep. When your breathing pauses or becomes shallow, you’ll often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep. As a result, the quality of your sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day.”
— The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Why Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea affects more than your sleeping patterns. It can have wide-ranging implication on your overall health.
- Sleep apnea affects your heart. Studies show sleep apnea increases your heart rate and blood pressure. 77% of patients with hypertension have sleep apnea as well as 58% of patients with cardiac arrhythmias and 76% of the patients with congestive heart failure patients.
- Sleep apnea puts stress on your brain. 65% of stroke patient has sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea puts you at high risk of type 2 diabetes. 86% of obese type 2 diabetic patients suffer from sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea causes mood disorder, anxiety, depression and memory loss. People with depression are 5 times more likely to suffer from sleep apnea.
- Sleep apnea causes sexual dysfunction. 40 to 64% of males with sleep apnea have ED (erectile dysfunction).
- Sleep apnea causes fatigue and sleepiness and reduces your productivity. Sleep deprivation slows down average reaction time by up to 30% and increases attention lapses by 150%.
Dr. Darabi practices dental sleep medicine, a growing segment of dentistry that focuses on managing snoring and sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is an effective alternative for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea diagnosis to the standard continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask.
Oral appliance therapy uses a mouthguard-like device worn only during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway by supporting the jaw in a forward position. Many medical insurance plans, including Medicare, cover oral appliances.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy for Sleep Apnea
- Comfort – It can be hard to sleep with a CPAP machine and bulky mask. Patients often like oral appliances because they are comfortable and easier to wear, especially for those who change positions during sleep or snuggle their bed partner.
- Quiet – A CPAP machine may silence the snoring, but its constantly running motor might not help you or your bed partner sleep more soundly. Oral appliance therapy is a silent option that can minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, without making a peep of its own.
- Easy Travel – It can be difficult to travel with a bulky CPAP machine. A compact, lightweight oral appliance can help lessen your load.
- Low-maintenance – It is super easy to care for an oral appliance. Just a toothbrush cleaning with mild soap will keep your appliance germ-free.
- Effective Treatment – Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to CPAP. When patients consistently wear their oral appliance, they wake up each morning feeling refreshed.
Oral Appliance Therapy Treatment Process
Following is the Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) treatment process at Apex Dental:
- Darabi will provide a home sleep test to determine if there is obstructive sleep apnea. For patients with pre-existing sleep apnea diagnosis, this step can be eliminated.
- After the sleep result is read by a sleep physician, patients will learn about all of the options for treatment, and whether or not an oral appliance for apnea is appropriate for the diagnosis.
- Once it’s decided that Oral Appliance Therapy is the right course of action, next step is a visit to our Florence office so that we can begin the digital workflow to custom design the sleep appliance.
- The state-of-the-art appliance is manufactured in Germany and the turnaround time is approximately 3 weeks.
- Our Oral Appliance Therapy treatment includes a follow up home sleep study 3 months after the delivery of the appliance to document patient’s progress and improvement.
To learn more about oral appliance therapy as a treatment for snoring and sleep apnea, call to schedule a complimentary consultation. Contact us at (413) 589-0255 (Ludlow), (413) 782-6777 (Springfield), (413) 863-2296 (Turners Falls), or (413) 570-4881 (Florence). We can work together to get you sleeping more soundly.