How Dentists Can Help with Sleep Apnea Issues
OSA, or Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder where the patient is unable to breathe normally, because the upper airways are obstructed by the soft tissue in the mouth (especially by the tongue).
The main symptom of sleep apnea is that the patient takes pauses/breaks during the breathing cycle several times per night. One such pause in the breathing cycle can take even up to 30 or 40 seconds.
The blood oxygen saturation of the entire organism is reduced, and this can easily have severe complications for the overall health. According to statistics, about 1 in 8 Americans are struggling with obstructive sleep apnea.
The good news is that now dentists can become certified by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, in order to offer treatment for the patients struggling with OSA. The dentists create special oral appliances, which are fitted into the mouth, so that the patient can breathe naturally all throughout the night, and is not disturbed by apnea. Until now, the most common treatment was represented by the CPAP (Continuous positive air pressure), which is a ventilation/breathing therapy.
Long term apnea has got an impact not only on the quality of life of the patient during daytime (sleepiness, mood swings), but it can also affect cardiovascular health. The CPAP machine has proved an extremely efficient treatment, but many patients have reported that its use is quite uncomfortable.
The best alternative to the CPAP machine is now represented by the special oral appliances, which can be designed and fitted by the dentist. These are appliances that need to be worn during the nighttime, and they will help the patient maintain all the breathing airways unobstructed.
These appliances basically look like the mouth guards which are worn by sports people, and by wearing them, the tongue in the mouth will be kept at a certain position so that it will not obstruct the airways. The sleep apnea appliances are always custom tailored, respecting the health needs of every patient.
The sleep doctors are the ones who will diagnose the severity of the apnea in the patient, and who will give recommendations to the dentist regarding the type of mouth guard that needs to be designed.
The apnea mouth guard does not only eliminate successfully apnea issues, but it also helps eliminating snoring in patients. It is important to mention that the sleep apnea appliances come with several advantages, such as: they cost less than the traditional CPAP machine, and these appliances can be covered by different insurance policies (even Medicaid).
Topics: Tags: blood oxygen saturation, breathing cycle, breathing therapy, cardiovascular health, cpap machine, dental, dental sleep medicine, insurance, insurance policies, mood swings