What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep Apnea is a life-threatening and life-altering condition that causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep. People with sleep apnea stop breathing for 10 seconds to more than a minute at a time, while they are sleeping. This can happen up to 400 times every night in very severe cases! If you are waking up all night long, you aren’t getting the restful sleep you need. People with sleep apnea often are not aware of awakenings but often experience “daytime sleepiness”.
There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea and central apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type. Nine out of ten people with sleep apnea have OSA. In OSA, the windpipe (trachea) which brings air into your body is narrowed or blocked. When the muscles in your throat relax, your tongue or other tissues are sucked against the throat, blocking your airway. It might also be blocked by fatty lymphatic tissue in the throat, such as large tonsils or adenoids, or even be blocked by clogged sinuses.
The collapse of the airway can also cause blood pressure elevation, a greater risk for heart attack and brain dysfunction, as well as a higher risk of cancer, diabetes, GERD, ADHD, as well as other problems.
Indications for use of an oral appliance over other treatments such as surgery or CPAP include:
- Poor tolerance of CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure); “CPAP failure”
- Poor surgical risks
- Unsuccessful adenoidectomy, tonsillectomy, or other surgeries, UPPP surgery (reshaping of the soft palate)
- Mild, Moderate or Severe OSA patients who refuse CPAP
- Collapse of jaws and airway following tooth extraction
- Lack of growth of the face due to severe allergies
- Tongue restrictions when swallowing
How does an oral appliance work?
There are various types of oral appliances that can be used. The most commonly prescribed appliance is a Mandibular Repositioning Device(MRD) or Oral Dilator. This appliance repositions and stabilizes the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula. It also increases the muscle tone of the tongue. Oral appliances are small and convenient, making them easy to carry when traveling. They are non-invasive, removable, and are generally more comfortable and better tolerated than CPAP.
“It has taken diligence and patience on my part and creativity on the doctor’s part, but it is worth it! I’m sleeping better and breathing better with less headaches and sinus problems…and all with straighter teeth…:”
“Over the past several years, I have had the pleasure of referring to Dr. Klein many of my clients with obstructive sleep apnea. We have had much success with the mandibular advancement device in adult clients. Orthopedic correction has been very helpful in the postoperative pediatric patient when sleep apnea persists, or when surgery is not an option. Our goal has been to eliminate or minimize the need for CPAP, especially when poorly tolerated.”
Jonathan Warren, MD, Board-Certified, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine,
Call For a Screening!
Call for a Pharyngometry screening today, to see if you are a candidate for an oral appliance!
Dr. Klein has completed extensive training in sleep apnea treatment and has been awarded Diplomate Status in the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, and is on the Board of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.