What is sleep apnea? You've heard about it on TV and probably have also seen online ads to treat sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is medical condition where an individual's upper airway becomes blocked, and breathing becomes interrupted during sleep. This can happen hundreds of times at night and cause the body and brain to starve of oxygen.
Why is this so bad? Unfortunately, studies show that in the United States up to 80% of the population may not be diagnosed for sleep apnea. If left untreated, serious health complications may arise which could even lead to death. Sleep apnea is associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, heart failure, stroke, asthma and other medical disorders.
What are the signs and symptoms of sleep apnea? Most often a spouse reports that their partner stops breathing and gasps for air at night. Also, loud snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Typical symptoms can be excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, frequent trips to the bathroom at night, and recent weight gain.
How do I know if I have sleep apnea? When you come in to meet Dr. Dejti, a Sleep Apnea Dentist in O’Fallon, MO., he will do a preliminary screening that will determine your likelihood of having sleep apnea. Based on the screening, Dr. Dejti will refer you to one of his partners, the board-certified sleep physician and sleep center. A board-certified sleep physician must make the diagnosis of sleep apnea. Through our partnership, we determine which treatment modality is the best choice for you.
How is sleep apnea treated? Sleep apnea can be treated a variety of ways depending on the type of sleep apnea: Surgery, Medication, Dental Appliance, or CPAP machine. The most common method for treating sleep apnea is a CPAP machine, which stands for Constant Positive Airway Pressure. This device - which is considered the gold standard of treatment for sleep apnea - delivers constant filtered pressurized air through a mask that helps to keep the air way from collapsing. This allows a sleep apnea sufferer to maintain an open airway so that they may breathe adequately through the night.
Although some patients have no problems with this device, some patients who use a CPAP machine find difficulty in wearing it throughout the night. The inability to tolerate the machine can be due to discomfort from wearing the mask, restricted movement, and a myriad of other problems. In some situations, there may be another alternative: An oral appliance.
What is an oral appliance? Instead of wearing a c-pap device with its straps, tubing, and mask, a sleep apnea sufferer can simply wear a special dental mouthpiece that can perform the same job. A dental mouthpiece can be adjusted to a position which allows the person to maintain an open airway, free from blockage and lessening or preventing snoring.
Can every sleep apnea patient get an oral appliance? According to the AASM, patients who have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea can choose to have an oral appliance as first line therapy to treat this disorder. Patients who are severe sleep apnea sufferers who have attempted the CPAP and failed can be good candidates for a dental mouthpiece as well.
Take this simple test to find out if you may need to be screened for sleep apnea:
Do you SNORE loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors)? Yes No
Do you often feel TIRED, fatigued, or sleepy during daytime? Yes No
Has anyone OBSERVED you stop breathing during your sleep? Yes No
Do you have or are you being treated for high blood PRESSURE? Yes No
BANG BMI more than 35kg/m2? Yes No
AGE over 50 years old? Yes No
NECK circumference > 16 inches (40cm)? Yes No
GENDER: Male? Yes No
High risk of OSA: Yes 5 - 8 Intermediate risk of OSA: Yes 3 - 4 Low risk of OSA: Yes 0 - 2
Dr. Dejtiranukul is Sleep Apnea dentist in O'Fallon MO. He is a member of the AADSM and holds a Qualified Dentist Designation. If you feel that you may possibly have sleep apnea and don't know for sure, please call. It could save your life. If you have tried CPAP and it has not worked for you, there may be an alternative. We may be able to help!