Though you may not think of visiting the dentist for snoring or sleep apnea treatment, Dr. Elliott is able to treat sleep-related breathing disorders and sleep apnea using oral appliance therapy.
Snoring is an extremely complex condition affecting millions of Americans. Both the snorer and their partner have a diminished quality of sleep. In addition, studies have linked snoring to major health problems including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an estimated 50% of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The most common of the sleep-related breathing disorders is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Patients who suffer from OSA repeatedly stop breathing during sleep, as a result of a blockage in the airway – commonly caused by a collapse of the soft tissue in the back of the mouths. Some patients may stop breathing up to 600 times a night. When a patient stops breathing they deprive their internal organs of essential oxygen. Many patients may wake up suddenly gasping for air or feel unrested even after a full nights sleep.
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be treated by Dr. Elliott using dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy. Seeking treatment for OSA as soon as possible can improve your quality of life and overall health. Sleep apnea can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke over time and also lead to an increased risk of developing both cardiovascular and systemic disease.
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Sleep Apnea What to Expect
Dental sleep medicine centers around treating sleep disorders such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through oral appliance therapy. The first step is typically a sleep study to evaluate your breathing during sleep and obtain an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Elliott works with patients on an individual basis to address concerns about a sleep disorder and can work with your general physician for proper medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
A sleep study can determine your risk for a sleep-related disorder and aid in choosing the most suitable treatment to address symptoms. Dr. Elliott offers an online sleep risk assessment for patients as a first step towards improving health and getting a better night’s rest:
If you are experiencing any of the common signs of sleep apnea or could be considered at risk, taking this online assessment could ultimately be life-saving. Risk factors can include:
Over the age of 45
Large neck circumference
Hypertension, high blood pressure
Oral Appliances: An Alternative to the CPAP
An oral appliance is a custom fit removable device, also known as a snore guard, mouth guard or night guard. Oral appliance therapy is often the first line of treatment for snoring and diagnosed mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Studies show that patients who have been successfully treated for sleep apnea with both the CPAP and a dental appliance preferred the dental appliance as their long-term option.
A snore guard, or snoring mouthpiece, is designed to keep the airways open during sleep. Similar to a sports mouth guard, a snore guard helps to keep the jaws in proper alignment and the tongue and soft tissue in their proper place to prevent them from blocking the airway. An alternative to the CPAP for patients who have milder cases of sleep apnea or are intolerant of the CPAP, oral appliances are comfortable, discreet and transportable.