- Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) are the result of a narrowed or blocked airway when an individual tries to breathe while sleeping. Normally, air passes through the nose and past the flexible structures in the back of the throat such as the soft palate, uvula and tongue. During sleep the muscles relax but , normally, the airway stays open. Snoring is created by the vibration of the pharyngeal soft tissues as air passes through an airway that is too small to allow for smooth, unimpeded flow. Snoring can just be loud and disruptive to a bed partner or it can be a symptom of a more serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea where the individual actually stops breathing for 10 seconds or more from a minimum of five to over one hundred times each hour. With each breathing stoppage the individual is interrupted from deep, refreshing sleep and the result is excessive daytime sleepiness and often a decrease in mental alertness and focus. Some of the symptoms of sleep apnea are daytime fatigue, obesity, high blood pressure, morning headaches, depression, decreased concentration and irritability.
At Oakridge Dental Center our goal is to educate our patients about the alarming dangers of untreated sleep apnea; especially the physical strain sleep apnea puts on the organs, specifically the heart. Research has shown that only one in ten individuals with the disease have actually been diagnosed and that treating OSA can save 7-10 years of one’s life expectancy. Anyone diagnosed with OSA must find the treatment modality that they are comfortable and can be compliant with and eliminates their disease. Anyone who snores and chronically feels unrefreshed on awakening and sleepy in the daytime should be concerned about the possibility of having OSA.
Completing the sleep risk assessment identifies your risk and suspected severity level of a sleep-related breathing disorder and is the first step in knowing if you should contact our office or other healthcare professional involved in sleep medicine for a consultation.
Dr. Obeid routinely screens all patients for signs and symptoms of sleep apnea. If apnea is suspected the patient is either sent home with a home sleep test or referred to a local sleep lab to confirm the suspected diagnosis of OSA.
Any patient diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea or any referred patient with confirmed OSA will be thoroughly re-evaluated to determine if an oral appliance would effectively manage their condition. These patients can then be fitted for an appropriate custom-fabricated, FDA-approved dental sleep appliance. Dental sleep appliances are recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine as the first line of treatment for mild and moderate levels of sleep apnea and as an alternative to CPAP patients for severe levels of sleep apnea for individuals who fail or cannot tolerate that treatment approach. Dental appliances for OSA either reposition the lower jaw and tongue forward or retain the tongue to effectively keep the airway open so air can be adequately inhaled while sleeping.
Dentists treating patients with oral appliances for sleep-related breathing problems are to abide by the recommended standards of care and guidelines for proper treatment outlined by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Obeid and his staff strictly follow this protocol with every patient. Once a patient has been custom-fitted with the appropriate oral appliance adjustments are gradually made to the appliance to eliminate snoring, improve sleep quality and daytime energy and increase nighttime oxygen levels. Patients may be asked to use a simple home monitor while sleeping with their appliance to help in making the proper adjustments that are needed to help establish the efficacy of the device in managing the patient’s OSA and normalizing oxygen levels. After the final adjustment the patient will have a final sleep study to confirm that the appliance has corrected their apnea and achieved optimal levels of restorative sleep. The patient will then be seen for periodic management (typically yearly) to ensure that their appliance is effectively managing their apnea. Dr. Obeid’s training and experience with the most progressive diagnostic equipment and oral appliances for sleep apnea enable him to select not only the most effective and comfortable appliance to manage the patient’s apnea, but also that which achieves the most compliance for the patient. Managing sleep apnea and low oxygen levels during sleep is typically a multidisciplinary effort. Dr. Obeid works together with medical specialists and sleep lab technicians in the treatment of patients to find the best form of treatment to manage his patient’s OSA.