Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the direct result of a restricted airway. This condition may arise when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat.

Dr. Levine has extensive experience treating sleep apnea. He is a member of the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the SomnoMed Academy, and he and his team have received extensive training in the use of the SomnoMed device as well as other sleep devices. If you are suffering from the effects of sleep apnea, call us to set up an appointment to meet with Dr. Levine. Dr. Levine provides dental appliances for obstructive sleep apnea and is prepared to help you.

We are available for a consultation before or after your overnight sleep test. Have your doctor call us.

Oral Appliance for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Snoring is the sound of partially obstructed breathing during sleep. While snoring can be harmless, it can also be the sign of a more serious medical condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). When Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs, the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat and completely block the airway, which restricts the flow of oxygen. The condition known as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) is midway between primary snoring and true obstructive sleep apnea. People with UARS suffer many of the symptoms of OSA but require special sleep testing techniques.

Oral appliances are a great alternative therapy for patients who are tired of CPAP. Dental appliance therapy is indicated for:

  • Patients with primary snoring or mild OSA who do not respond to, or are not appropriate for treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep position change.
  • Patients with moderate to severe OSA should have an initial trial of nasal CPAP, due to greater effectiveness with the use of oral appliances.
  • Patients with moderate to severe OSA who are intolerant of or refuse treatment with nasal CPAP. Oral appliances are also indicated for patients who refuse treatment, or are not candidates for tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy, craniofacial operations, or tracheostomy.

Oral Appliances

Oral appliances or dental appliances that treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are small plastic devices that are worn in the mouth, similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. These appliances help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat, keeping the airway open during sleep and promoting adequate air intake.

Oral appliance work in several ways:

  • Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue soft palate and uvula
  • Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue

Are you tired of CPAP? Dental appliances for sleep apnea may be the right solution for you. Dentists with training in oral appliance therapy are familiar with the various designs of appliances. They can determine which one is best suited for your specific needs. The dentist will work with your physician as part of your medical team in your diagnosis, treatment, and on going care. Determination of effective treatment can only be made by joint consultation of your dentist and physician. The initial evaluation phase of oral appliance therapy can take several weeks to several months to complete. This includes examination, evaluation to determine the most appropriate oral appliance, fitting, maximizing adaptation of the appliance, and the function.

Other Treatment Options

In addition to lifestyle changes, such as good sleep hygiene, exercise and weight loss, there are three primary ways to treat snoring and sleep apnea. The most common way is with therapy delivered through a Continuous Positive Air Pressure machine. CPAP is usually applied through a tube or mask that covers the nose. The air pressure that is generated splints the structures in the back of the throat, holding the airway open during sleep.

On-going Care

On-going care, including short-and long term follow up is an essential step in the treatment of snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy. Follow up care serves to assess the treatment of your sleep disorder, the condition of your appliance, your physical response to your appliance, and to ensure that it is comfortable and effective.

Oral Appliance Therapy has several advantages over other forms of therapy:

  • Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear. Most people find that it only takes a couple of weeks to become acclimated to wearing the appliance.
  • Oral appliances are small and convenient making them easy to carry when traveling.
  • Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non invasive.

Resources

For more information, visit the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and the Somnomed Academy online.

Appointments

203-624-7571

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