Dental sleep medicine is an area of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The dentists at Denzinger Family Dentistry work together with sleep physicians to identify the best treatment for each patient.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in adults. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. It fits like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is an effective treatment that prevents the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position.
Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Snoring is a common warning sign for obstructive sleep apnea. Prior to treatment, you should be diagnosed by a board certified sleep medicine physician. If you have snoring without sleep apnea, your doctor should give you a prescription for an oral sleep appliance. If you have sleep apnea, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. The CPAP machine keeps your airway open by providing forced air through flexible tubing. CPAP therapy requires you to wear a mask as you sleep. Although CPAP therapy is effective, some people are unable to adhere to it. Your doctor should consider giving you a prescription for a sleep apnea appliance if you are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy or would like an alternate treatment option. Many people prefer an oral appliance because it is comfortable, quiet, portable and easy to wear. In some severe cases of sleep apnea, upper airway surgery may be another treatment option.
How Do I Find Someone Who Can Help Me?
Oral appliance therapy should be provided by a qualified dentist who has technical skill and knowledge in dental sleep medicine. Training in how to provide oral appliance therapy is uncommon in dental schools. Not all dentists have the training or experience to provide optimal care for adults with snoring or sleep apnea. Dr. Sara Denzinger-Rowe and Dr. Tracy Guilford have amassed thousands of hours of certifications and education in dental sleep medicine and are board certified with American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM).
Don’t Ignore The Warning Signs!
The quality of your sleep has a dramatic impact on your health, well-being and overall quality of life. Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea disrupt your sleep and increase your risk of severe health problems. Remember that snoring is a warning sign that should never be ignored. Denzinger Family Dentistry is prepared to help patients diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor and us about your treatment options.