Sleep apnea treatment falls right in line with Nashville dentist Dr. Kent White’s neuromuscular approach to dentistry and smile care. The jaw helps support the airway, and the development and position of the jaw can contribute to sleep apnea. Because of their training in the positioning and development of the jaw, neuromuscular dentists are ideally-suited to survey and weigh the alternative sleep apnea treatments.
If you are in search of an alternative sleep apnea treatment in Nashville, please contact the Center for Advanced Dentistry online or by telephone at (615) 383-6787 to book an appointment with Dr. White.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea is a chronic condition in which frequent breathing disruption prevents restful sleep. It is generally characterized as being central (CSA), obstructive (OSA), or a combination of the two. Obstructive sleep apnea is, by far, the most common type, with only about 2% of sufferers having only central sleep apnea.
The National Institute of Health reports that roughly 12 million Americans suffer from this disorder. But that number may be much higher in reality because many sleep apnea sufferers fail to realize they have the condition. As much as 80% of sleep apnea sufferers may be undiagnosed.
The traditional symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Chronic, loud snoring
- Chronic fatigue
- Trouble concentrating
- Short-term memory loss
- Weight control problems
- High blood pressure
Part of the problem with diagnosing sleep apnea is that the most characteristic symptom, loud snoring, occurs when a person is asleep. It is often only reported when a spouse is disturbed by the sound, and then it is often dismissed as a nuisance. Doctors commonly misdiagnose sleep apnea. For example, in the deadly 2013 train derailment in the Bronx, the driver had been misdiagnosed as having low testosterone rather than sleep apnea.
ARE YOU AT RISK?
Technically, almost anyone is at risk for sleep apnea, and we are increasingly learning that many of the sufferers don’t fit the traditional profile. Traditional risk factors for sleep apnea include:
- Being over age 40
- Having a large neck, tonsils or tongue
- Having a small jaw bone
- Chronic gastroesophageal reflux
- Deviated septum
- Family sleep apnea history
When left untreated, sleep apnea has been linked to such serious, systemic health problems as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and more. Sleep apnea sufferers are also more likely to be involved in serious traffic accidents, and may be more likely to commit suicide.
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Since head, neck, and face physiology can play a major part in the development of sleep apnea as well as its treatment, our Nashville dentist’s first step with any sleep apnea sufferer will be to conduct a thorough neuromuscular examination.
The aim of this examination will be to uncover treatment options that work instead of, or in conjunction with, the traditional medical treatment, which is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask.
For instance, Dr. White can design a custom orthotic device that keeps the tongue and face muscles in place during sleep to prevent apnea from happening. Some of these are designed to be used instead of CPAP, while others are used in conjunction with CPAP. Since the primary shortcoming of CPAP is that many people dislike it and do not use it, having more comfortable and convenient treatment options can be life-saving.
We offer many different oral appliances, including the MicrO2 appliance. This is a small device, which makes it very comfortable and better for jaw health. It offers more tongue room than other devices. And it’s easier to adjust. There are no screws or elastics to adjust. Just swap out different parts to get the most comfortable configuration.
If you are in search of alternative sleep apnea treatments in Nashville, please contact the Center for Advanced Dentistry at (615) 383-6787.