Taking signs of sleep apnea seriously

 In oral appliance therapy, sleep apnea

Do you know someone who is always tired? Is your loved one a heavy snorer? Show you care. Say something.

People think about sleep apnea and are hesitant to take action. They can’t get past the CPAP mask and the change it might bring to their level of comfort. For that reason, we’re happy to bring you one couple’s story in the hopes that you’ll be able to relate and move to protect your loved one’s health.

Michelle moved in with Matt and immediately noticed there was something wrong. Matt snored loudly, and his heavy breathing kept her from falling asleep at times, but something more sinister stuck out.

There were times Matt would shutter in his sleep. It almost felt like his breathing had stopped for a moment. It was impossible to regulate her own breathing with that of her partner and now husband, but when he stopped moving it was scary.

Michelle felt it was important to talk about his sleep patterns, so when she realized he was shuttering in this way, struggling to breathe, she brought it up. “Eh— I’ve always been a snorer,” he said, but Michelle refused to let it go. All the signs were coming together. All the times he would nod off if he sat down for too long, the scary instances of sleepy driving, and his poor circulation stood out.

Matt agreed to talk to someone about the issue. First up was the dentist who confirmed the narrowing of Matt’s airway in the reclining position. He was happy to talk to Matt about the signs and symptoms he was experiencing. Both his dentist and doctor recommended a sleep study be conducted to assess the level of the problem. The sleep study finally confirmed Michelle’s fears. Matt’s breathing was stopping for seconds at a time. His oxygen levels were all over the place. The Obstructive Sleep Apnea was dangerous but could be treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, therapy or similar alternatives.

SmilesRForever dentists work with clients that dislike or cannot tolerate CPAP by providing Oral Appliance Therapy, or OAT. OAT involves the selection and fitting of a specially designed oral appliance to maintain an open airway in the throat. The custom appliance is worn during sleep and is proven to be more effective than over-the-counter devices, which are not recommended as a screening tool nor as a therapeutic option. Custom appliances often have over a 90% success rate at one year, patients like them and love the great night’s sleep.

To best determine the most appropriate oral appliance, the initial evaluation phase of OAT might take several weeks or months to complete. We work to fit you with the best appliance to maximize the adaptation and function for your health. Ongoing follow-up will assess the treatment of your sleep disorder, the condition of the appliance, your physical response to the appliance, and ensure that it is comfortable and effective.

If you have questions about your or your loved one’s breathing or snoring, schedule your no-obligation consultation to learn more about sleep apnea and potential treatment.