Diagnosing and Treating Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects an estimated 22 million Americans, but it is often left undiagnosed because the symptoms occur while you are sleeping. If left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious effects on your overall health. At our practice locations in Billings, MT, and Boise, ID, Dr. David Casagrande is proud to offer the most advanced, state-of-the-art, clinically approved oral appliances to treat patients who are suffering from sleep apnea.
Klearway™ oral appliances are designed to fit comfortably and eliminate snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea and What Causes It?
Obstructive sleep apnea—also known as OSA—occurs when your airways become blocked. This blockage can occur when the muscles inside the throat overly relax or the tongue falls to the back of the throat. When these tissues block your airway, they can severely limit your airflow or even make it impossible to breathe. Those who suffer from OSA can stop breathing for a few seconds to a full minute at a time before their brain signals them to wake partially and resume breathing again. This process can happen hundreds of times over the course of the night, interrupting your sleep and reducing the amount of oxygen delivered to your brain.
Symptoms and Risk Factors
The physical symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud and chronic snoring
- Daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Mood swings or easy irritability
- Waking while choking or gasping
- Frequent urination during the night
- Dry mouth or a sore throat in the morning
There is not a single answer as to what causes sleep apnea. Although some patients are prone to the condition because of their small airways or enlarged tonsils, there are certain health and lifestyle factors that may increase your risk of this disorder. Risk factors may include excess weight, age, family history, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes, among others. If you notice the symptoms of sleep apnea in yourself or a loved one, we encourage you to visit our office to receive a formal diagnosis to begin treatment.
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that patients receiving oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea reduced their symptoms as well as improved physiological and behavioral outcomes.
The Negative Effects of Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea does not affect only the quality of your sleep. The disorder has been linked to several serious health issues, such as:
- Memory loss and confusion
- Acid reflux
- Weak immune system
- Asthma or difficulty breathing
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- High blood sugar
- Heart disease
- Decreased libido
- Low levels of oxygen in blood
- High cholesterol
These more serious side effects can affect your overall health and require more expensive and invasive treatment in the future. Taking the steps to treat your condition can prevent serious, life-threatening consequences.
Non-Surgical Sleep Apnea Treatment
When you visit our office, Dr. Casagrande will conduct a full sleep apnea evaluation. During the appointment, he will review your symptoms, assess your needs, and request a sleep study if necessary. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, we will take impressions of your bite to begin fabricating your custom oral appliance.
Our office provides oral appliances that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the safe and effective treatment of sleep apnea. These appliances are custom-made using impressions of your teeth and gums for the most comfortable and secure fit. Oral appliances treat sleep apnea by gently shifting the lower jaw to a more forward position. This shift can help hold tissues of the throat tight, prevent the tongue from falling back, and allow you to maintain an open airway while you sleep. Depending on your needs, we will recommend one of two brands.
Klearway appliances are made of thermoactive acrylic to fit comfortably and securely over your teeth while you sleep. The flexible material allows you to yawn and swallow without dislodging the appliance. During sleep, your aligner will keep your jaws and tongue in a proper position, opening the airway and eliminating sleep disturbances and snoring.
SomnoDent Herbst Advance™
Herbst appliances have been used for many years to treat sleep apnea and jaw misalignment. The device is fully adjustable and small for easy transport. Similar to Klearway products, Herbst appliances are easy to care for and made of flexible materials to fit comfortably against your gums.
Do Not Let Sleep Apnea Affect Your Life
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that patients receiving oral appliance therapy reduced their symptoms of sleep apnea as well as improved physiological and behavioral outcomes. Thanks to advancements in materials and technologies, treatment is becoming more effective and comfortable than ever before. Call River Valley Advanced Dental & Implant Center at (800) 874-4667 or contact our office online to schedule a consultation and begin treating sleep apnea today.
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“When you go to Dr. David Casagrande, you are treated with the utmost respect. They make sure everyone is comfortable and really accommodate the needs of their patients. I am so grateful I have such a wonderful dentist office so close by.” James M.