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Sleep Apnea Dentistry

Dental Sleep Medicine

Obstructive sleep apnea affects more than 20 million Americans. Most people with mild sleep apnea are aware that they snore and feel overtired or fatigued but are unaware of potentially serious medical problems which may exist. Indianola Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing successful dental appliance therapy to treat sleep apnea.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When you sleep, the soft tissue and muscles in your mouth and throat relax, causing your airway to become smaller. Sleep apnea occurs when the airway completely collapses and blocks airflow into the lungs. This can occur frequently throughout the night and for long periods of time.

The Impact of Sleep Apnea on your Health

SleepTroubleWhen sleep apnea blocks airflow, the body and brain are deprived of oxygen. The brain then has to wake up the patient to begin breathing again, often with a gasp or choke. People with mild sleep apnea may stop breathing only a few times an hour. People with severe sleep apnea can stop breathing hundreds of times a night. Often the patient is unaware of the frequent night awakenings when they get up in the morning.

Untreated, sleep apnea can contribute to the following health conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Slow metabolism
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Poor job performance
  • Heavy snoring
  • Poor short term memory
  • Impaired concentration

Simple Sleep Apnea Solutions – Oral Appliance Therapy

SleepingThe oral appliances that we use are similar to a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. They are custom fit for each patient, and constructed of soft, comfortable acrylic. The appliance fits over the upper and lower teeth. Its function is to hold the lower jaw forward so the tongue and soft tissues of the throat do not collapse into the throat causing snoring and sleep apnea. The device is easy to place and remove, easy to clean, and is convenient for travel. Many studies have proven their effectiveness:

  • 96% of patients with sleep apnea stated they would like to continue to use their oral appliance after the study was completed
  • 91% of patients reported substantial improvement in sleep quality with their Oral Appliance

Who should use an oral appliance?

Oral Appliance Therapy is indicated for mild to moderate sleep apnea patients if they prefer it to CPAP.

Oral appliances are also recommended for severe sleep apnea patients if they cannot tolerate CPAP. Patients with severe sleep apnea should always try CPAP before considering oral appliance therapy.

Oral appliance therapy is not for everyone with sleep apnea. We work closely with area physicians and sleep centers to provide and ensure successful treatment. Call today for a free consultation.

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