Helping Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the soft tissues in the throat collapse during sleep, blocking the airway. At Newport Family Dental Care in Newport, TN, our dentists can create custom-made oral appliances to position the jaw in a way that keeps the airway open during sleep. Oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to CPAP machines.View transcript
Sleep apnea comes in two forms. One is obstructed and the other is central. Central sleep apnea . . . Well, sleep apnea itself is where you stop breathing for over 10 seconds at a time. And the way you stop breathing is one of two ways. In central, your mind just forgets to tell the diaphragm to function, and you don't breathe. Obstructive apnea is where something obstructs your airway and prevents you from breathing. And generally, that's the soft tissue in the throat. And in dentistry that's where we can tend to help people out who are either CPAP intolerant or simply just don't want to wear a CPAP, because with the dentistry, we can make appliances in the mouth that will actually take the lower jaw and bring it forward and when it brings it forward, it also takes all the soft tissue in the back of the throat and pulls it forward so that when you're totally relaxed and sleepy, you don't have the tongue and soft tissues relaxing so much that they close the airway and keep you from breathing. They're, so to speak, held forward by this appliance. As a dentist, I cannot legally diagnose sleep apnea. I can screen for it. I can look for scalloped tongue, I can look for an enlarged tongue, I can look for a narrow archway, I can look for receded lower jaw. There's many, many things you can look for in the oral cavity that will really point to that problem or issue and in the screening process if I feel like that's a possibility, then I need to refer to a medical doctor so it can be diagnosed. And if the medical doctor feels like a mandibular device will work for the patients well, then they will refer them back to me and basically, I am making the appliance for them under the doctor's prescription, so to speak.