Mar 13

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosed and treated with a mouthpiece?

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How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) diagnosed?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious medical condition. It is a condition that is characterized by a person’s inability to breath when sleeping. This is due to a person’s airway being obstructed, usually by the base of the tongue or by the excessive soft tissue of the throat. Obstructive sleep apnea varies in severity, but is considered dangerous at any level. It must be diagnosed by a physician. Diagnosis is based on the results of an overnight sleep study, called a Polysomnogram (PSG). A PSG is usually carried out in a sleep center. Today the sleep centers resemble a nice hotel. These centers are readily available throughout the United States. When undergoing the PSG, or sleep study, several factors are being evaluated. These include: the level of oxygen in the blood, blood pressure, pulse rate, snoring sound levels, body positioning, and the stages of sleep. Once a proper diagnosis has been made the sleep physician will make a recommendation for the appropriate treatment. These treatments may include the use of a CPAP, or a sleep apnea mouthpiece that is made by a qualified dentist. The sleep apnea mouthpiece may be used for people that suffer from mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. A dental sleep apnea mouthpiece can also be used for those patients that can’t wear a CPAP for whatever reason. The dental sleep apnea mouth piece holds the lower jaw in a more forward position. This helps to open the airway and allows the patient to breath easier. A CPAP is the gold standard for patients that have obstructive sleep apnea, especially for those patients that suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea. However, many patients cannot tolerate the use of a CPAP. These reasons vary from the noise that the mask makes as air leaks from around the mask, to the feeling of being confined and claustrophobic. Many patients also report that the CPAP makes it difficult for their partner to sleep in the same room. Nevertheless, I still recommend that my patients follow their physicians instructions, and at least try their very best to use their CPAP. If they still cannot tolerate it, then I will make them a sleep apnea mouthpiece.

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Feb 27

Sleep Apnea Keeping Wife AwakeWhat are the signs and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The symptoms of Obstructive sleep apnea include: Snoring, Witnessed Apnea, Excessive Daytime Sleepiness, Nocturnal Choking, Unrefreshed Sleep, Poor Sleep Quality, Insomnia, Morning Headaches, Impaired Concentration, Impaired Memory, Nocturia, Anxiety, Impotence, Depression, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.

The signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include: Obesity, Increased Neck Circumference, Increased Waist Circumference, Retrognathia (, Maxillary (Upper Jaw) Constriction, Excessive Overjet of the teeth, Excessive Overbite of the teeth, Tonsilar Hypertrophy (enlarged tonsils), Macroglossia (enlargement of the tongue), Oropharyngeal narrowing, Nasal obstruction, High Blood Pressure.

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, speak to a sleep physician to diagnose and correct the potentially fatal condition that is Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

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Jan 29

Somnodent Mandibular Advancement AppliancePeople that have been diagnosed with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea will benefit the most from using an oral appliance made by a dentist. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is the gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, many people cannot tolerate a CPAP. The reasons include the CPAP being to bulky and cumbersome, the CPAP mask leaking, dry mouth and nose, skin irritation, and annoying their bed partner with a noisy CPAP machine. An oral appliance can also be used to treat people that suffer from severe obstructive sleep apnea that are CPAP intollerant. A dentist that has been trained to treat patients that suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea can fabricate an oral appliance. The process is simple and painless, and can be completed in as little as two visits. Follow up is critical, as the appliance should be adjusted according to objective results obtained from a follow up sleep study. One should seek out a dentist that owns a portable sleep monitor like the Watch-Pat 200 or the Ares. This will reduce the expense and hassle involved with multiple sleep studies done in a sleep lab. I do recommend a final sleep study to be conducted in a sleep lab, once the appliance has been properly adjusted.

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Jan 28

Undiagnosed, and hence, untreated sleep apnea can be extremely dangerous, if not deadly. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea can increase your risk for developing the following:
• High blood pressure
• Diabetes
• Stroke Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Obesity accidents
• Heart disease
• Driving and work-related
• Decreased sex drive
• Depression
• Irritability
• Morning headaches
• Impaired concentration

If you or someone that you love snores, stops breathing while sleeping, or is excessively tired during the day, please contact your family physician so that he or she can diagnose your condition.

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Jan 27

Obstructive sleep apnea is a deadly medical problem that is becoming more prevelant. In recent years, dentists have become an integral part of the team approach in the treatment of obstructive slee apnea. This is due to several realsons. First, dentists see their patients on a more regular basis than their physician collegues. Second, dentists have been trained extensively in the anatomy and physiology of the airway. This knowledge is essential in the recognition of the signs and symptoms of sleeping and breathing disorders, namely obstructive sleep apnea. Upon recognition, dentists can refer their patients to the appropriate sleep physician or sleep center for a proper diagnosis. Lastly, dentists are skilled in the fabrication of appliances that can treat obstructive sleep apnea. These appliances work very well when treating patients that have been diagnosed with mild-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The appliances can also be used to treat patients that cannot wear their CPAP.

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Jan 18

Recently a group out of the Universtity of Chicago reported, in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, that obstructive sleep apnea may adversely affect the body’s ability to control it’s sugar levels (glucose). This can lead to major problems with people that suffer from type 2, adult onset, diabetes.

Renee S. Aronsohn, MD, of the University of Chicago, said “for the first time that there is a clear, graded inverse relationship between [obstructive sleep apnea] severity and glucose control in patients with type 2 diabetes.”

John Heffner, MD, past president of the American Thoracic Society, said in a recent news release that at least 80% people with type 2 diabetes also have obstructive sleep apnea.

This study is encouraging because obstructive sleep apnea is a treatable condition. Hence, if the obstructive sleep apnea is treated the person’s ability to control his/her blood sugar levels would most likely improve.

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