Dental Sleep Medicine
You will find the latest technology in our office to make sure your experience is seemless – from the consult, through diagnosis, appliance fabrication and billing your medical insurance.Dr. Brittanie Wilson and the team at Smiles Family Dentistry are ready to help you return to the best sleep of your life!
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Did you know that an estimated 18 million Americans (1 in 15) suffer from a disease called sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is defined as the involuntary reduction or cessation of breathing that occurs during one’s sleep. Sleep is a crucial life function, and if your sleep is being affected by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) your life and overall health can be negatively impacted in many ways.
Effects of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- 4x more likely to suffer a stroke
- 3x more likely to experience heart disease
- Shorter lifespan
- Decreased quality of life
- Hormone disruption
- Memory problems
Many of the common signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include the cessation of breathing while sleeping, snoring, daytime tiredness, high blood pressure, and night time teeth grinding or clenching. This disease can also manifest itself within the mouth, which your hygienist or dentist may identify during your routine cleaning and exam.
Dentists can play an important role in working with patients with sleep apnea. For example, dentists can help to recognize the signs of OSA and identify those who may be suffering from the disease, promote testing for sleep apnea, provide alternative therapy through an oral appliance, and work together with sleep doctors and physicians to improve patients’ quality of life.
How Can You Treat Sleep Apnea?
In order to be treated for OSA, you must first be diagnosed with the disease by a sleep physician. The diagnosis can be made through the use of a sleep study either at home or through a sleep facility. Once the diagnosis of OSA is made, your physician will work with you to come up with the best course of action or therapy. The most common approach and first line therapy to treat OSA is through the use of CPAP therapy (continuous positive airway pressure). However, people may not always be able to comply with this therapy due to the possible discomfort of wearing the mask, the noise from the machine, or due to personal preference. If you are unable to tolerate CPAP therapy or would prefer an alternative therapy, your physician may collaborate with your dentist and write you a prescription for an oral appliance.
An oral appliance is a custom fit device that is worn while sleeping that works to move the lower jaw forward in order to maintain an unobstructed airway. Dr. Wilson utilizes digital impressions of your mouth to fabricate your customized sleep device. An oral appliance has many advantages including protecting the teeth from damage due to grinding, improved comfort, and the ease of use while traveling.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea or cannot tolerate the use of a CPAP, schedule a consultation today and we’ll have you on your way to a better, more restful night’s sleep in no time!
What is the Next Step?
Curious about ditching the CPAP? The next step is to come in for a consult, where Dr. Wilson will take a conduct a detailed exam and discuss the best options for your individual situation. You will leave that consult appointment with all the information you need to make the best decision for you.
Call our office at 319-668-1221 or 641-622-3752 to set up your consult today!