Sleep Apnea Treatment
Pearl City, HI
Are you snoring at night and sleeping less? If you are struggling to get enough sleep, the culprit could be sleep apnea.
When signs of sleep disturbances appear, and snoring is a factor, you may have obstructive sleep apnea and your oral health may be the issue. Here at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry, we can help with sleep apnea, finding you a solution for better sleep.
Many patients are surprised to find that sleep apnea is connected to the dental industry. A dentist is often the first person to be able to diagnose a sleeping condition.
Sleep apnea causes breathing interruptions during the night. The pauses can last for a few seconds or even minutes. The pauses will take place due to the muscles in the back of the throat becoming flaccid. The tongue may be too large or the jaw too small, which can obstruct the airway.
At Oahu Pediatric Dentistry we offer oral appliance options for the treatment of a number of conditions.
Realigning teeth or gradually moving the jaw forward through mandibular advancement may be accomplished through the use of devices that are worn in the mouth.
One of our areas of specialization is the treatment of sleep apnea through our knowledge of craniofacial anatomy and the use of oral appliance therapy.
We will examine and evaluate the physical condition of your upper airway and jaw placement, and determine the best treatment option for you.
What Are the First Signs of Sleep Apnea?
Surprisingly, the first sign of sleep apnea is the grinding of teeth.
We will look at the surface of your teeth to see if they are worn, which is a sign that you are grinding your teeth. The teeth can wear away and break if grinding is occurring. Receding gums can also be present along with inflamed gums.
When you are sleeping, if grinding occurs, the jaw is tense. This sends the brain a message to wake up to breathe.
Cue the sleep interruptions. Additional signs of sleep apnea that your dentist may notice will include redness in the throat due to snoring or a small jaw with a tongue that has scalloped edges.
What Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, is described as a condition in which a person experiences a stoppage of breathing, at least five times per hour during the night. This interferes with correct sleep, causes heart rate problems, and reduces a person's oxygen supply.
OSA is caused by the closing of the upper airway in the back of the throat, as the soft tissue collapses on itself.
This can be due to factors such as nasal obstructions, a small jawbone with an overbite, an upper airway with a smaller than normal diameter, or enlarged tonsils.
One sign of this may be excessive snoring throughout the night.
How is Gum Disease Tied to Sleep Apnea?
Another way that a dentist can determine a sleep apnea issue is with periodontal disease. If tooth decay is present, it could be due to heavy teeth grinding and sleep apnea.
Taking care of the periodontal issue as well as sleep needs will provide better overall health.
Mandibular Advancement and Tongue Retention
Mandibular advancement devices (MAD) open the airway and keep it open by moving the position of the jaw slightly forward.
The slightly forward position is comfortable, and helps prevent the back of the tongue from closing the upper airway.
A MAD looks similar to an orthodontic retainer, or a mouthguard that is used by athletes to prevent tooth damage. The Invisalign appliance, designed for realigning your teeth, is also capable of producing mandibular advancement.
Tongue retaining devices address the OSA condition by keeping the tongue in a neutral position and do not require you to wear a mask while you sleep.
This prevents the back of the tongue from collapsing and blocking the upper airway. There are also hybrid devices which combine repositioning of the jaw and placement of the tongue.
An Alternative to CPAP
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure.
A CPAP device addresses the condition of OSA by supplying constant air pressure into the airway, keeping it open during sleep by wearing a mask.
CPAP machines are very effective, but are not very convenient. They require electrical power to operate, and make a constant noise when in use.
Their size can also be inconvenient for travel. Additionally, some people cannot tolerate the use of a CPAP machine. An oral appliance is silent, requires no power, and is much smaller.
Custom Fit and Comfort
Your oral appliance is custom molded for you, and provides a perfect fit.
We take an impression of your teeth, which is then used to create an acrylic appliance.
It allows freedom of jaw movement, so you can yawn, take oral medication, and speak clearly. It is exceptionally strong and durable. And it can be used in combination with a CPAP machine if more efficient results are desired.
A Night Guard
We may recommend that you begin wearing a night guard to help with the sleep apnea symptoms. A night guard will reduce teeth grinding which can cut down on the number of times you wake up during the night.
Any jaw pain, headaches, or cavities associated with teeth grinding can keep you up at night. With a guard in place, the interruptions can stop.
If the night guard treatment does not work, a sleep study may be needed with a specialist. A sleep study will include the patient staying overnight at a facility while their sleep patterns are monitored.
During the night, the number of times you wake will be recorded as well as when breathing stops, and snoring. With the information from the study, additional treatments can be recommended including sleeping devices.
Learn About Your Options in Pearl City, HI Today!
If you are around Oahu and have experienced heavy snoring and wake constantly at night, sleep apnea may be an issue.
Learning more about your options can ensure a better night's rest.
For more information about sleep apnea, call the experienced professionals here at Oahu Pediatric Dentistry at (808) 456-4555 today!