Obstructive Sleep Apnea

We make oral appliances to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
 

For mild and moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea, oral appliances are a great option. An upper and lower appliance is custom fitted over the teeth and fit together in such a way that the lower jaw is carried forward. Similar to the open-airway position we create in mouth-to-mouth recessitation, this enlarges the pharynx and helps support an open airway. 

What is Sleep Apnea?

Today 17% of U.S. adults have Obstructive Sleep Apnea and it is life threatening.

Sleep Apnea is the chronic medical condition where a person repeatedly stops breathing during sleep. It can be caused by an obstruction of the upper airway, called Obstructive Sleep Apnea or by a failure of the brain to initiate breath, called Central Sleep Apnea.  During an “apnic event” the Carbon Dioxide level becomes too great and the brain stimulates an urgent wake-up call and the person gasps for breath. Repeated episodes throughout the night cause a lack of deep (REM) sleep which results in daytime sleepiness, fatigue, memory loss and/or loss of concentration, all common symptoms of sleep disordered breathing.

By 2020 it is projected that one in five Americans will have OSA. Some of the side effects from snoring and OSA are more significant than the strain on your relationship such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Heartburn
  • Morning headaches
  • Depression
  • Chronic sleepiness

The outcome? These sleep disordered breathing problems negatively affect your work performance, increase your chance of injury or illness, and heighten your risk of a traffic accident. Yep—if you are concerned that you have or your spouse has sleep apnea, it’s time to get some help!

Obesity is the dominant factor in 50% of cases which means sleep apnea is on the rise; it will soon be the most common chronic disease in industrialized countries.

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Snoring
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding)
  • Obesity
  • Weight gain/Difficulty losing weight
  • Memory loss
  • Concentration problems
  • Sexual Impotence
  • Bedwetting

In addition to these, sleep apnea is the number one reason spouses and partners don’t sleep in the same bed.

Sleep apnea can cause or worsen other systemic medical conditions including hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and reproductive health. Some say sleep disordered breathing in its various manifestations is arguably the number one health problem in the U.S. and probably throughout the world.

Suspecting Sleep Apnea

In our office we will screen for physical signs of sleep apnea such as:

  • Narrow airway opening in the back of the throat
  • Small or recessed lower jaw
  • Narrow upper arch
  • Deep overbite (overlap) of teeth
  • Worn teeth from night grinding
  • Obesity
  • Large (17+ inch) neck circumference

You can also take an online test to determine your risk of sleep apnea below. 

Assess Your Risk

Getting a Sleep Disorder Diagnosis

If you scored as “moderate” or “high” suspicion, it is best to get an overnight sleep study. We have developed a trusting relationship with the caring doctors at these two Lansing area sleep centers. Feel free to call them for your consultation.

When you visit your sleep doctor, please ask to have a copy of your report sent to us so we can help you determine your insurance coverage and the best solution for you. We really want to help.

Treatment Options

Oral Appliances

For mild and moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea, oral appliances are a great option. An upper and lower appliance is custom fitted over the teeth and fit together in such a way that the lower jaw is carried forward. Similar to the open-airway position we create in mouth-to-mouth recessitation, this enlarges the pharynx and helps support an open airway. 

CPAP

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, as a machine pushes air into your airway by way of a face mask. The air flow maintains the airway. Compliance is often an issue with CPAP as well. Some people complain about the cumbersome restrictions of movement, the noise or the psychosocial embarrassment of wearing a mask to bedtime.

Surgery

Upper and/or lower jaw surgery provides the best long-term outcome. This procedure is intimidating to many but has a fairly high degree of predictability.