Sleep Apnea Treatment
Dental sleep medicine is an area of dentistry that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Patients are fitted with a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) which is worn at night to open the airway by moving the mandible (the lower jaw) forward.
While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy remains the primary recommendation for treating sleep disorders and snoring, many patients having difficult using or are not a candidate for CPAP and may be strong candidates for a dental sleep solution.
Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
How Do I Know If I Suffer from Sleep Apnea?
Loud, persistent snoring, pauses in breathing, accompanied with gasping episodes when sleeping and excessive sleepiness during waking hours are the 3 most common warning signs of Sleep Apnea.
Should everyone who snores see a sleep specialist? No, say the experts. “Most people who snore don’t have obstructive sleep apnea, but most people who have apnea snore,” says Robert L. Owens, MD, of the Sleep Disorders Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. If you have chronic snoring that is loud enough to wake a bed partner, talk to your doctor.
How Would I Begin Dental Sleep Medicine Treatment?
Dental sleep medicine requires a diagnosis of Sleep Apnea or Primary Snoring from your doctor or pulmonologist and a referral for treatment.
If you think you could be suffering from Sleep Apnea, we can schedule a Sleep Apnea Screening to provide as a referral to your physician.
We work closely with your treating physician throughout the course of treatment.
What Should I Expect During Treatment?
At the first appointment, the doctor will discuss expectations for treatment, the risks and benefits of treatment, and the consent allowing us to move forward. Further, the Patient Support Team will review and discuss finance and insurance with you.
The doctor will conduct an exam specific to your suitability for treatment with a MAD, two x-rays will be taken that will allow for prescribing the proper MAD for your specific needs. In addition, pictures and models will be taken to be used in construction of the appliance.
You will receive your appliance and the doctor will confirm its proper fit and will discuss possible side effects.
2-3 weeks after you have been fitted with your appliance the doctor will follow-up with your experience with the appliance since delivery and will review the adjustment protocol to get the appliance adjusted for optimal treatment effectiveness.
Final Visits In an additional 6-8 weeks the doctor will review your progress since the previous appointment and determine if you are ready to be referred back to your physician for a sleep study to confirm the effectiveness of the MAD.
Frequency of visits after the 5th appointment will be determined based on progress and in close coordination with your physician. As always, we are here to answer any questions that you have during treatment and adjust the frequency of visits if needed.
Dr. Mike DeFee is qualified by the American Association of Dental Sleep Medicine.
Dr. Mike's father suffered from Sleep Apnea and, after having hesitations using a CPAP, was able to achieve treatment success with Dental Sleep Medicine through the introduction of a Mandibular Advancement Device.
Seeing the results first-hand inspired Dr. Mike to pursue qualification through the AADSM and introduce the benefits of this focused treatment to patients in the Wilmington area.
Further Reading from the Blog
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Find out if you are a qualified candidate for Dental Sleep Medicine.
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