Diagnoses and Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Diagnoses and Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Most people do not think snoring or excessive sleeplessness is a problem, yet sleep disorders or sleep apnea related to snoring are potentially life threatening. Today there are several ways to treat sleep apnea. As a member of Chase Dental SleepCare, our Weston dental office facilitates sleep testing as well as partner with a patient’s current physician to help determine the most appropriate therapy for the individual.

Your dentist cannot diagnose you with sleep apnea. However, a dentist can help screen you for sleep apnea, before sending you to a specialist for a sleep study.  The most common way of doing this is using a pulse oximeter.  The pulse oximeter is a non-invasive device that is worn over a finger at night.  The pulse oximeter then measures the oxygen within the blood; sudden drops in blood oxygen saturation can be an indication of inadequate breathing caused by sleep apnea.

How can Sleep Apnea be treated?

Sleep apnea has traditionally been treated using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device. The CPAP is a machine that connects to a mask that is worn over the face during sleep.  CPAP works by blowing air down the throat, forcing the airway to remain open. However, over half of sleep apnea suffers stop using their CPAP within a year.  The mask is cumbersome, and may make sleeping difficult.  The device treats sleep apnea and may eliminate snoring, but is noisy and may still keep a spouse awake.  CPAP devices are also not easily portable, and may be unable to be brought while traveling.

Recently a new technique has become available to treat sleep apnea.  Oral Appliances are small devices that are worn in the mouth to assist in the prevention of the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. They are designed to reposition the lower jaw slightly forward, keeping the airway open during sleep and promoting adequate air intake. These small devices are custom made and fit into the mouth much like a mouth guard. The use of these devices can help to eliminate the problems that cause snoring and sleep deprivation. Most patients report their sleep apnea and snoring is drastically reduced or fully eliminated. The Oral Appliance is comfortable, adjustable and FDA approved. Oral appliances are easily portable, and most patients report they are much easier to use than a CPAP, with nearly 90% still wearing their oral appliance a year later.

Dr. Pyle in Weston, Florida is a dentist who uses oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea and sleep related breathing disorders as a substitute for large and hard to move CPAP machines. Dr. Pyle works along with other sleep specialists to treat sleep disorders. Only dentists who are certified specialists in this field can help provide a solution by utilizing Oral Appliance Therapy to treat this chronic disorder. Many dentists try to offer oral appliances without any formal classes or training.  The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine is the most widely recognized organization for setting standards and credentials for dentists who treat sleep apnea.

Don’t go untreated if you are a person that snores loudly or stops breathing for short periods of time in your sleep. See your physician for a diagnosis of sleep disorder. If your doctor diagnosis you with sleep apnea, ask if you qualify for treatment with an oral appliance. The Oral Appliance provided by Dr. Pyle are covered by most medical plans including Medicare so there’s nothing to lose, except those sleepless nights. Call today for an appointment.

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