Obstructive Sleep Apnea
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than twelve million Americans are suffocating in their sleep due to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Most cases remain undiagnosed and contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and traffic accidents caused by drowsy driving. Dentistry serves a vital role in treating this under diagnosed epidemic. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as a first line therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and for patients with severe sleep apnea whose CPAP treatment has failed.
What is OSA?
OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway. The most common causes of airway blockage include throat muscles, tongue, tonsils, or soft palate falling back into the throat. The blockage suffocates the person at rest.
OSA is typically diagnosed using a polsomnogram or “sleep study.” During a sleep study, a sleep physician monitors brain activity and body system functioning while a patient rests overnight at a sleep clinic. The sleep physician evaluates the data collected during the sleep study to diagnose sleep disorders and recommended treatment. A dentist trained in sleep medicine works together with sleep physicians to treat obstructive sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy.
How can an oral appliance treat snoring & breathing?
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are the least invasive treatment and the first choice of treatment for mild to moderate OSA. It involves the selection, fitting, and use of an appliance to hold the jaw forward and maintain an open airway in the throat during sleep.
Sleep Apnea Appliances:
Sleep Herbst Appliance: The Herbst appliance has been used for many years. “Adjustability” is the primary advantage of the Herbst appliance in OSA cases. The post and sleeve mechanism advances the jaw into a forward position.
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You may also contact the Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Department at Wenatchee Valley Medical Center: Dr. Bill Davies, Dr. Craig Kunz, Dr. Saba Lodhi, 509-663-8711. Or the Central Washington Sleep Diagnostic Center: Dr. Eric Haeger 509-663-1578
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea Patient Testimonies:
"Dear Dr. Edwards: It is with delight that I want to thank you for learning how to help patients with Sleep Apnea. I was finally diagnosed with Sleep Apnea in, March 2011. By the time they figured out what was wrong, my sleep patterns were totally messed up and I was literally exhausted. Dr. Daniels from Wenatchee Valley Clinic recommended that I come to you and get the mouth appliance. It has been a huge blessing and was easy to get used to. I had not realized how much I needed it to survive until we had to send it in for some adjustments. I could not wait to get it back. I am also not snacking on salty junk foods in the late afternoons trying to get some energy to finish the day. My health has improved and my joy is back. I highly recommend you to all of my friends and family."
— Lori Hendricks