Dentists and the Fight Against Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the throat relax during sleep, causing breathing to stop and start repeatedly. When your body is deprived of oxygen, the results can put a severe strain on your health. Obstructive sleep apnea can also result in numerous other issues, including:

• Morning headaches
• Sore/dry throat
• Sleeplessness or disruptions in sleep
• Severe tiredness
• Loud snoring

What A CPAP Does For You:

By applying a continuous stream of air through a mask, CPAP keeps the airways open, preventing the gaps in breathing, severe snoring and choking noises. According to sleepeducation.com, using CPAP can prevent or even reverse serious health problems associated with sleep apnea, such as heart disease and stroke.

What an Oral Appliance Can Do For You:

An oral appliance, functions differently from the CPAP machine in that it is designed to keep air ways open by either changing the position of the tongue, or by altering the position of the jaw, bringing it forward to prevent obstruction.

Strength in Numbers – Why not Use Both?

Research shows that as effective and popular the CPAP machine is in the battle against sleep apnea, combining CPAP with an oral appliance helps patients tolerate treatment better than using CPAP alone. As reported by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, a study in the journal Sleep and Breathing demonstrated combination therapy effectively addressed mild to moderate sleep apnea, increased oxygen levels in patients, and decreased their “sleepiness” score. Also noted, the number of times patients ceased breathing saw a reduction from 11 times per hour to an average of three times per hour following the combination therapy. (aadsm.org)

An additional advantage of having access to an oral appliance is that it is perfectly mobile. Patients are more likely to take an oral appliance with them while traveling than a CPAP machine as it takes up very little space and is incredibly discreet. So patients may use combination treatment or just the CPAP at home but use the oral appliance while away.

Contact Dr. Winkelmann today

Discover the benefits for yourself and talk to your dental care provider about oral appliances for sleep apnea or about pairing the two therapies, and regain your health and a good night’s rest!

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