Dr. Levine works with sleep apnea dental patients in Eugene, Salem, and many other areas. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is very common; left untreated, sleep apnea causes individuals to stop breathing during their sleep for a minute or more. Each time this happens, the brain will wake a person up for a moment in order to get them breathing again, which results in sleep being interrupted frequently and leaving the individual tired throughout the day.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
If your bed partner notices that you snore or gasp for air regularly while sleeping, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Not everyone who snores has OSA; however, everyone who has OSA does snore. OSA is a condition in which people stop breathing for short periods, several times if not hundreds of times per night. Sleep apnea affects 13-17% of all adult Americans. Undetected sleep apnea is serious and can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and even death. Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea can take 10 to 15 years off one's life.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Causes
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is caused by a blockage of the upper airway. It may be related to the tongue being too large, muscle weakness around the throat, or fat around the airway caused by excessive weight gain which leads to the collapse of the airway during sleep. Waking up activates the body's fight-or-flight response causing increased heart rate, heart stress and high blood pressure.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Symptoms
- If you are told by your bed partner that you snore or gasp for air during your sleep.
- If you are tired and un-rested after sleep and need to take frequent naps.
- If you have hard-to-treat blood pressure.
- If you have frequent heartburn.
- If you are obese and/or have a collar size larger than 16 inches for women or 17 inches for men.
- If you wake up with a dry or sore throat.
- If you are irritable in the morning or have morning headaches.
- If your legs feel twitchy at night.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
OSA can only be properly diagnosed by a board-certified M.D. in sleep medicine. This is done either through spending a night in a sleep lab connected to wires and monitors or by a home sleep test. In our office, we have home sleep testing monitors which you can wear in the comfort of your own home. When you bring the testing unit back to our office, we will upload the data stored in the unit to a board-certified sleep physician who will diagnose if you have sleep apnea. The physician will also determine how severe the sleep apnea is and prescribe what treatment options would be appropriate. Treatment options include dental, medical or surgical.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment Alternatives
Until recently, the recommended solution was to pump air into the blocked passage by the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. It's appearance has been described like being a bulky jet pilot mask to something resembling a Darth Vader mask. It's cumbersome, noisy and uncomfortable, but it will keep you alive. The problem is that most people use the mask on an inconsistent basis, which provides only limited value and still puts the patient at risk. Recent advancement in a specialized custom dental-fabricated mouth guard provides a more comfortable solution. This small mouthpiece that rests inside the sleeper's mouth moves the jaw forward opening the airway in the throat.
Snoring is caused when the muscles and soft tissue in the throat and mouth relax making the breathing airway smaller. A relaxed and/or collapsed airway produces soft tissue vibrations during breathing and snoring is the result.
An oral appliance can greatly reduce or stop snoring for most people.
A snoring appliance is an oral appliance that resembles an athletic mouthpiece. Small and flexible, it has no moving parts, masks, hoses, or batteries. Generally it is made from sterile plastic that is easy to clean with a regular toothbrush. It will allow a person to move their jaws when they are sleeping.
The snoring appliance is custom fit to the patient's teeth to keep the upper and lower jaw in position when the jaw and throat muscles relax during sleep. This keeps the airway open providing restful, quiet sleep.
Dr. Levine of Willamette Valley Prosthodontics would love to meet you and your family. WVP can provide you with the dental care you need and give you the smile you deserve! Our offices provide the exceptional care you need to achieve the beautiful, natural look you seek. We can even reshape your natural teeth to make them straighter and more youthful. Our offices are easily accessible making it convenient for those living near Eugene or Salem to get the care they deserve.Request An Appointment Online
Salem - (503) 363-6852