Sleep Apnea Treatment
Today, sleep apnea is a common complaint and common disorder. Patients experience a pause (or many pauses) in breathing while they sleep. These pauses can range from seconds to minutes. In fact, the pauses may repeat dozens of times in an hour. Usually, normal breathing will resume, sometimes with a snorting sound. The main problem with sleep apnea is that sleep is disrupted. As well, when breathing is paused, or becomes shallow, we slip from deep sleep into light sleep.
Simply put, sleep apnea results in poor quality sleep. It makes people quite over-tired during the course of the day, and it’s a primary cause of daytime sleepiness. This is why diagnosis is so important. And although excessive snoring is a prime indicator, not all symptoms are as evident with sleep apnea. For the dentist, common patient complaints can often point to sleep apnea - these would be symptom complaints like daytime lethargy; morning headaches; even dry mouth.
Interestingly, dentists are quite often the first medical professionals to be exposed to sleep apnea issues, mainly because patients see their dentist more often than their family physician. As such, patients with sleep apnea symptoms might well be sent to a Sleep Clinic for further diagnosis. Once assessed, patients can return to the dentist for treatment. At this time, depending on the severity of the condition, an oral appliance can be created that opens the airways while sleeping.
At the Mackenzie Dental Centre, our dentists serve the Vaughan, Maple, and Woodbridge communities. Dr. Lloyd Pedvis provides treatment for sleep apnea, based on the gravity of the condition. Indeed, in the case of a patient with mild sleep apnea, it may be as simple as changing sleeping behaviours; losing some weight; or even smoking cessation. For some, it may appropriate to wear a customized dental appliance while sleeping - something akin to an athletic mouth guard, which repositions the jawbone to improve airflow and breathing.
Some patients experience Obstructive Sleep Apnea – this is when breathing interruptions occur for longer than 10 seconds during sleep time. Here, oral appliances have proven to be effective in the management of most patients. At the Mackenzie Dental Centre, the appliance is custom-made to reduce the negative effects of sleep apnea (or chronic snoring). Essentially, the oral appliance realigns the jaw during sleep time, and must be worn every night to achieve the desired results.
Oral appliances designed for sleep apnea are a viable option for relief. Needless to say, symptoms may return if the appliance is not used consistently, and as prescribed. What’s most important is a patient’s commitment and cooperation – this includes wearing the appliance as instructed, and maintaining a high standard of ongoing oral hygiene. Indeed, practical experience has shown that treatment success is directly related to each patient’s personal discipline and commitment.
Patients at the Mackenzie Dental Centre will find a healthcare team that is knowledgeable about every procedure and treatment at the clinic. With the Mackenzie team, patients can rest assured that they are in capable hands.