If you review our previous articles you will see signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, or sleep disordered breathing. You will see how a diagnosis is gathered and how we at Jones Family Dental can assist you and your physician in treatment. This article will explore specific treatments that we can assist in.
First and foremost, we need to emphasize that we are adjuncts in this process. We can and do facilitate the diagnosis and treatment but all of that will be coordinated with you and your physician.
There are three categories of treatment that we offer.
1. Supportive treatment: This includes methods, solutions, products and adaptations that will improve your sleep and breathing. This area includes guidance for sleep hygiene, nasal rinses, nasal dilators, positional devices (like a slumber bump) which keep us off our backs, where most sleep apnea occurs. These are all items that can be purchased online by the patient.
2. Symptom Management Devices: This would include a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). This would include approval from your physician, custom fitting and delivery of a device that slightly moves your lower jaw forward to allow for a larger airway. Lastly, a follow-up home sleep test is used to make sure that the device is working properly and these results are sent to your physician. Ideally you would have a diagnosis of mild to moderate sleep apnea or upper airway resistance to utilize this treatment but sometimes people are CPAP intolerant or need auxiliary help with their CPAP and will still get a MAD. This device must be worn nightly and although we try to limit changes to bite, it can happen.
3. Mandibular Advancement Device with growth of the airway: This is similar to the above treatment but while performing this advancement we are also expanding the upper arch, potentially uprighting the lower arch, improving nasal breathing, and creating a more lasting result of larger airway volume even when the device is not being worn. This option takes some time to achieve results but makes permanent bite changes and can often improve multiple symptoms and issues.
At Jones Family Dental we are more concerned about our patients receiving the help that they need than whether we are even the people that execute that treatment. We have several patients that we encourage and convince to be tested for sleep apnea due to oral signs and symptoms. Often their physician takes over from there and we consider that success when we see them later to hear of how much better they feel. Ultimately we recognize the seriousness of sleep disordered breathing and want our patients to know when they are at risk. If you have questions please call 541-488-5088.