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Sleep Apnea

Did you know at Fuller Dental we can help patients that have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea?

In most mild to moderate cases, patients can be treated successfully with an alternative to the CPAP using oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is custom made for you and fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway, reducing the collapse of soft tissues at the back of the throat. Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related breathing disorder commonly marked by loud snoring and repeated cessation of breathing during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea experience a collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the throat, blocking the airway and forcing a loud snore or gasp to restart the flow of air. In many cases, the patient is unaware that they are snoring and experiencing a cessation of normal breathing until their sleep partner lets them know or they begin to notice changes in their daily quality of life.

Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Although snoring is considered a common symptom, snoring does not always mean that a patient has a sleep disorder and many patients with sleep disorders either do not snore or do not realize they do. There are several key signs of a sleep related disorder such as sleep apnea and discussing your lifestyle habits and concerns with us during visits can help identify larger health issues such as sleep apnea. Common signs can include:

  • Snoring, often loudly
  • Gasping for air during sleep
  • Feeling groggy or sleep during the day
  • Moody, irritable
  • Difficulty concentrating

There are also certain risk factors for the development of sleep apnea that your Fullerton dentist can discuss with you. These can include being overweight, hypertensive, diabetic, over the age of 45 or a smoker. Research has shown that males, especially if you have a larger neck circumference, are at greater risk for developing sleep apnea.

Treatment for Sleep Apnea in Burlington

dental sleep medicine burlington ncAlthough the CPAP is considered the gold standard for treating sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy has been proven to be effective in a majority of mild to moderate cases. The inconvenience, discomfort, and maintenance of the CPAP often lead to noncompliance among patients. This increases your risk for developing additional health concerns associated with sleep apnea, such as heart attack and stroke.

Oral appliance therapy is often well tolerated and the high compliance rate among patients leads to a decrease in both symptoms and associated risks. Custom fit, your oral sleep appliance is much like a mouth guard and is to be worn at night. Repositioning the jaw for natural air flow, the oral appliance reduces or eliminates the continual cessation of breathing that leads to symptoms and health problems. Convenient, comfortable and portable, an oral appliance enables the wearer to speak and consume fluids when in place.

Dr. Peterson is a member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and stays informed on the latest research and treatments for sleep apnea and other sleep related disorders. She offers treatment for patients who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and our team works with patients on an individual basis to identify and address possible sleep disorders affecting their health and well being.

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