“I know my brain needs oxygen to survive, but this Darth Vader mask is driving me crazy!” While CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is considered the gold standard for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), there is a problem with patient compliance. Research articles have shown that CPAP compliance can be as low as 50% because of discomfort and inconvenience. Obstructive sleep apnea sufferers who do not wear their CPAP machines increase their risk of heart failure, high blood pressure and stroke and are drowsy during the day and fall asleep while driving. OSA sufferers who stop wearing CPAP often snore, gasp and choke loudly, disturbing their bed partners and placing a strain on relationships and marriages.
A Proven Natural Alternative: Oral Appliance Therapy
Still there is hope. Oral appliance therapy, provided by dentists specifically trained in the use of these devices, can be an effective alternative to CPAP. A recent article published in the journal Sleep by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine stated that oral appliances can be used as first-line therapy in patients for treating mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea. A dentist trained in sleep apnea therapy uses a variety of sleep apnea oral appliances that are custom-fitted to help the patient sleep soundly and minimize the effects of sleep apnea, such as snoring. These FDA-approved devices essentially treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea by preventing airway obstruction and allowing the patient to breathe easily and continuously. Worn in the mouth like an orthodontic appliance during sleep, oral appliances keep the soft tissue from collapsing and interrupting normal breathing patterns.
How Do I Know If An Oral Appliance Will Work For Me?
Predictable and reliable success is now assured with a new technology called Doppler Eccovision which uses sound waves (sonar) to accurately measure the airway during exhale to enable the dentist to find the exact jaw position for the oral appliance to stabilize the airway. This simple, 20 minute test is noninvasive; the patient simply breathes normally holding a snorkel-like mouthpiece attached to a hollow recording tube as the sound waves record and chart the dimensions of the airway. The recordings show if a dental apnea appliance will be of benefit to restore a stable airway. Before and after the fabrication of the oral appliance, the patient performs a sleep study in the comfort of their own bed to confirm the success of the treatment. The initial and post-treatment data is evaluated by a board-certified sleep apnea physician and results reviewed by the dentist and patient to see if any adjustments are necessary to achieve the best possible result. FDA-approved and covered by most medical insurance companies, the benefits of a natural, healthy night’s sleep can be yours without the hassle of masks, tubes, and a machine.
Michael C. McVicker, DDS is director at the Center For Dental Sleep Medicine 3829 Woodley Rd. Suite 5 Toledo, Ohio.
For a complimentary screening appointment, call 419-474-5955 or visit ExceptionalSleep.net