Dr. Melissa Elliott offers patients a comprehensive, holistic approach to your oral health care. Routine dental visits also include general screening for sleep related disorders that can have oral signs and symptoms.
Dr. Elliott educates patients who may be at risk for sleep apnea and other sleep disorders, and works with them to obtain the proper diagnosis. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or feel that you are at risk due to family history, lifestyle habits or other related health concerns, discuss your medical history with Dr. Elliott during your next dental appointment.
What is Airway Dentistry?
Airway dentistry focuses on the healthy development and maintenance of your airway, which can be impacted by a range of factors, including:
- muscle tension in the jaw joints
- enlarged tonsils
- structure of the throat and neck
- function of the bite
These and many other common risk factors, medical conditions and lifestyle habits can increase your risk of developing sleep apnea. Dr. Elliott offers screening, sleep testing and oral appliance therapy to meet your needs and help you improve your sleep- and your health.
What Happens During Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea occurs when a blockage to the airway, often caused by the collapse of soft tissues at the back of the throat, stops your breathing momentarily. This happens repeatedly during sleep, depriving the body and organs of oxygen. The cessation of breathing will commonly cause you to snore loudly or awaken, gasping for air. Most patients with sleep apnea get up in the morning feeling tired, groggy and irritable.
Over time, sleep apnea can impact your overall health condition, increase your risk for a range of health problems and take years off of your life expectancy.
What Is A Sleep Study?
Dr. Elliott can provide an at home sleep study to further evaluate your sleep habits and determine if apnea is occurring. This type of sleep testing is convenient, includes easy instructions and will be read and analyzed by a certified sleep physician.
Based on the results of your sleep study, Dr. Elliott can work with you on an individual basis to assess your needs and obtain proper treatment. The CPAP remains the leading treatment option for patients with moderate to severe sleep apnea. Dr. Elliott offers oral appliance therapy for patients with milder forms of sleep apnea, anyone intolerant of the CPAP or as an option for use when traveling.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Dr. Elliott can design a custom Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) to address your sleep apnea. Similar to a mouthguard, this is an oral appliance that is designed to prevent the collapse of soft tissue at the back of the mouth by repositioning the jaw.
Dr. Elliott uses impressions of your mouth and bite that are taken in our office using airway testing. This is to ensure that the device will perform as expected and minimize or eliminate sleep apnea symptoms.
After using the MAD for a period of time, we will recommend repeating the home sleep study, looking for improvements and making adjustments in your care as needed. The goal of treatment is to allow you to breathe comfortably and naturally when sleeping for a more restful night’s sleep. Successful treatment will boost your energy and improve your quality of life.