What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?
Sleep apnea is defined as the stoppage of breathing while sleeping.Nearly 25 million adults in the country are affected by sleep apnea, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. The statistics are alarming and the health risks are dangerous so physicians and dentists are collaborating to develop effective treatment solutions. People diagnosed with sleep apnea now have multiple treatment options and are able to successfully treat the problem. With effective treatment, the health risks associated with OSA can be decreased. Individuals with moderate and severe OSA are generally treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). Those with mild to moderate diagnoses may be able to be treated in the dental office.
What is Dental Sleep Medicine?
This is an area of specialization for dentists focused on treating snoring and sleep apnea. Dentists trained in this field collaborate with doctors and clinicians to screen and diagnose OSA. Dentists can help in cases of diagnosed mild to moderate OSA. The dentists role is to help manage a patient’s symptoms through oral appliance therapy. The most common type of oral appliance therapy is a mandibular advancement device (MAD).
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD)
MAD's look similar to athletic mouth guards that fit over the upper and lower teeth. A connector then holds the upper and lower parts together while moving the lower jaw forward. When the lower jaw is moved forward, the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat move forward, opening the airway. Specially trained dentists can select the right device, get it custom fitted, then adjust it for maximum effectiveness.
Getting MAD's to Treat Sleep Apnea
MAD's should only be used when a proper diagnosis has been made with a physician and sleep testing. Depending on the severity of your condition, your physician may recommend MAD treatment with a dentist. The good news for our patients at Waveland Family Dental is that we can help! We are trained in screening, can get you to a physician and facilitate sleep testing, then custom fit you with the right MAD.