Effective Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece Treatment Options

It’s been suggested by recent research that oral appliance therapy is a viable treatment to correct everyday snoring and disruptive sleep disorders, like apnea. Worn only overnight, the mouthpiece fits similarly to a sports mouth guard. The mouthpiece keeps your bottom jaw pulled slightly outward which helps to keep your airway unobstructed and open. These oral mouthpieces are silent, easy to maintain and in some cases covered by your health insurance. Review all the options with your physician. If both of you agree that this therapy is the way to go, then you’ll receive a sleep apnea mouthpiece prescription and referral to a specialized dental professional. The dental professional will fit your mouthpiece specifically to your mouth. While there are many government approved oral aids, your doctor or dentist will suggest a mouthpiece that best suits your...

Is Your Snoring a Sign of a Serious Health Problem?

A sleep problem can affect all aspects of your life ranging from job performance to your overall health. Snoring is one of the most common sleep problems facing Americans. Not only does it interrupt your sleep and disturb your sleep partner, but it can also be a warning of a serious health problem. You snore when the soft tissues of your upper airway vibrate as you breathe during sleep. Factors that can lead to snoring include: Obesity Smoking Heavy alcohol consumption Nasal obstruction Frequent, loud snoring is often an indication of obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is a condition in which an individual repeatedly stops breathing for brief periods while they sleep. A doctor specializing in sleep disorders can perform a sleep evaluation to determine if your snoring is due to OSA. This typically involves a home apnea test or an overnight sleep study to monitor breathing patterns and oxygen levels during sleep. A dentist can recommend a custom-made oral appliance that will help support your jaw and keep your airway open while you sleep and prevent snoring. The device is similar to a mouth guard or retainer and is easy to care for and use. There are currently more than 100 different oral appliances available to treat snoring and sleep...

The Utility of the Elbow Sign in the Diagnosis of OSA

Is this the future of triaging patients for potential OSA? This has been a long-standing process by partners of people who snore or in some cases stop breathing. Who knew we were helping to lead a medical advancement? All I was trying to do was get a good night’s sleep. A small clinical observation reported by co-author Mark Fenton, MD, of the University of Saskatchewan reported that among patients with partners a repeated statement made by partners was the need to poke or elbow patients who snore loudly or stop breathing to help restore regular breathing. This led to Fenton’s team developing a questionnaire that consists of just two questions: 1) Do you get elbowed for snoring too loudly? and/or 2) Do you get poked/elbowed because you stop breathing? Fenton states that “The questionnaire would be easy to incorporate into a clinical history and use in the diagnosis of OSA.” Since this study was only done in one center a more thorough case study would need to be completed to form a true result validating practical use of the questions in diagnosing...

Oral Appliance Therapy Guideline Released

The Guideline, jointly issued by the AADSM and AASM, is great news for both patients who are CPAP intolerant, and dentists who deliver Dental Sleep Medicine. This Guideline is great news for patients suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) as it endorses a more collaborative approach between the dental and medical communities. The Guideline specifically supports a qualified dentist fabricating a custom, titrate-able device, once a sleep physician prescribes an oral appliance for the treatment of OSA. AADSM President Kathleen Bennett, DDS. states “Communication and teamwork between sleep physicians and dentists are essential in delivering exceptional patient care. The new Guideline paves the way for a more collaborative relationship, which underscores the indispensable role a dentist plays in the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea.” Earl K Bogrow DDS is a Diplomate of the prestigious American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, and now dedicates his practice exclusively to Oral Appliance Therapy for OSA &...

OSA May Affect Blood Flow Response in the Brain

People think obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) simply causes poor-quality sleep. Recent studies suggest, however, that there may be more to it than that. Indeed, results from specialized MRIs designed to monitor brain activity indicated a weakened blood flow response in some patients suffering from OSA. People affected by OSA often experience decreased perfusion, the heart’s ability to pump oxygenated blood to parts of the body, and inadequate blood regulation in the brain. to determine the effect OSA had on blood flow in the brain, researchers subjected study participants, with and without OSA, to global blood volume and oxygen dependent signals, which allowed the visual assessment of differences in blood flow response during three activities: a breathing exercise that raised the pressure in the chest, a hand grip challenge, and the submersion of one foot in icy water. While participants had fairly comparable results during the breathing activity, a weaker blood flow response was recorded in participants with OSA in the other two challenges. The study suggests that the part of the brain affected by OSA may delay the transmission of nerve signals from the arms and legs regarding sensation and muscle movement. Thus, the weakened blood flow response seems to directly impact nerve response. This idea is supported by the fact that the breathing exercise, which resulted in similar measurements between participants, did not require muscle movement, therefore not eliciting the same response from the brain as the other two activities. While the study did not address additional OSA-related problems, these findings can lead to more informed diagnosis and...