Sleep Apnea Treatment—Portland, OR
Proven Solutions for Better Sleep
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a disorder that causes the upper airway to become blocked by the surrounding soft tissues during sleep, which restricts the passage of air into the lungs. When a patient’s sleep apnea is mild, the worst symptom may simply be a case of nightly snoring. However, OSA can progress to the point where the airway becomes completely blocked for a full minute or more per episode. During this time, no air gets in or out of the lungs.
When the body subconsciously realizes it is suffocating, it tries to shift the jaw to create more room for the tongue. This shifting motion causes the patient’s teeth to grind together, a condition clinically known as bruxism. Once the body has shifted to reopen the airway, breathing resumes and the body begins to relax. Unfortunately, this just starts another cycle where the lower jaw pulls back and the tongue is once again forced into the back of the throat. The patient can no longer breathe, and the body uncomfortably shifts to reopen the airway again and again.
If you have ever tried to hold your breath for more than a minute, then you know just how difficult it is to make it to the full 60 seconds. With some people, breathing stoppages of up to a minute can happen frequently throughout the night and absolutely prevent a decent night’s sleep. In the most severe cases, obstructive sleep apnea can actually be fatal. While nightly snoring may seem more amusing than serious, untreated sleep apnea can be deadly.
Treating Sleep Apnea
Traditionally, physicians have prescribed a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine to treat apnea patients. While CPAP machines are very effective in forcing air past any blockage and down the throat, the machine also tends to be bulky, noisy, and restrictive. Featuring a series of hoses and a pump, getting hooked up to a CPAP machine can often feel like being on life support. Well, that’s because in many ways, it IS life support.
While physicians tackle the treatment of apnea one way, dentists see it differently. In the vast majority of cases, we can treat nocturnal teeth grinding, and in doing so also reduce OSA. That’s because we can position the lower jaw in such a way as to create adequate room for the tongue to move forward and free up the airway. It is a simple and straightforward solution that completely does away with tubes and pumps, replacing them instead with a single, custom-manufactured dental appliance.
Can a simple nighttime mouthguard really prevent sleep apnea and nightly snoring? Absolutely! In fact, sleep dental appliances are recognized by the Association of Sleep Physicians as equal in effectiveness to CPAP machines as a primary treatment for sleep apnea (with the exception of extremely severe cases). Patients are also more likely to use their apnea treatment when they don’t have to wear a cumbersome mask to bed every night.
Don’t Let Apnea Ruin Another Night’s Sleep
The team at Advanced Dental Arts NW takes OSA very seriously. If you or someone you know suffers from OSA or is tired of wearing their CPAP machine, please give us a call. We can create a far more comfortable appliance that will help prevent teeth grinding as well as greatly improve sleep apnea for most patients. And, because sleep apnea is considered a medical condition, your insurance may cover a significant portion of the device.
Since sleep apnea only occurs during rest, many patients may not even realize they suffer from it until a restless bed partner or roommate complains about their snoring habit. Sleep apnea is easily diagnosable with our in-home apnea test. One night wearing a comfortable sleep monitor will provide Dr. Teasdale the information needed to make a tentative apnea diagnosis. Our office will then forward that data to a physician for a definitive diagnosis.
Call today to schedule a sleep apnea consultation. Everyone needs and deserves a good night’s rest, and we’ve already helped countless patients get exactly that!