Trouble getting a good night’s sleep? Our family dentist Dr. Cindy Neufeld at Apple Dental Care in Edmonton provides extensive sleep apnea treatment for patients suffering from this disorder.
How does snoring occur?
Snoring occurs when your airway becomes partially blocked by the soft tissue at the back of your throat. Sometimes that tissue can completely block the airway causing a medical condition called sleep apnea.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more. Some people may have as many as 50 apneic episodes an hour. This means the brain, and the rest of the body, may not get enough oxygen. As a result, they feel really tired throughout the day, unaware that they have sleep apnea.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea: The more common of the two forms of sleep apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
- Central Sleep Apnea: Unlike obstructive sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.
How can we help?
At Apple Dental Care in Edmonton, we may have you do a home study to determine if you have sleep apnea.
If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, a popular treatment appliance is a cPAP. cPAP, known as continuous positive airway pressure, is an airway pressure ventilator, which applies constant mild air pressure to keep the airways continuously open during sleep. However, if you have tried a cPap and cannot tolerate it, dental management of sleep apnea may be an option for you.
In addition to cPAP, Dr. Neufeld is a provider of the DNA appliance. The DNA appliance is an appliance for the treatment of snoring and mild-to-moderate sleep apnea. A mouth insert is worn over the teeth during the evening and at night, allowing the body to gently increase the size of the upper jaw and the volume of the nasal airway.
Types of Oral Appliances
This appliance has wings on the lower portion that fit against a stop on the upper jaw to position the lower jaw forward and open your airway. This appliance is comfortable and easy to use.
The TAP Appliance
The Thornton Adjustable Positioner or TAP appliance uses a pin in the upper appliance and a slot in the lower to help reposition the lower jaw forward.
The Silent Nite Appliance
This appliance has different sizes of straps that help position the jaw forward. It is a comfortable appliance, but it is not strong enough for patients with a severe grinding habit.
PantheraTo maintain an adequate respiratory flow during sleep, this appliance moves the lower jaw forward to a comfortable position, thus enabling you to breathe during your sleep.
The MicrO2 appliance is an intraoral sleep device that features a pair of upper and lower arches that can be set in differing increments. The device works by by moving the lower jaw forward. It increases the diameter of the retropharyngeal airway behind the tongue. This reduces snoring and obstructive respiratory events during sleep.
Am I at Risk for Sleep Apnea?
As a dentist, there are signs that we see in patients that suggests you may be at risk of having sleep apnea, such as:
- Dry mouth
- Increased tooth decay rate
- Wear and erosion of teeth
- Nocturnal bruxism (grinding of the teeth)
- Exostosis (additional bone found in the jaw in response to pressure)
- Large tonsils
What are the effects of sleep apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:
- Heart attack
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure