Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances

What is Sleep Apnea?
The most common form of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This is when the airway collapses while sleeping causing airflow to be completely blocked or limited. This means the brain and rest of the body is not getting the oxygen it needs. Apnea episodes may occur 5-100+ times an hour. If there are more than 5 apneas per hour it is considered abnormal. Oxygen desaturation causes the body to go into crisis mode, elevating the heart rate and harming the body’s cells. Your brain senses this and briefly awakens you to reopen your airway. This can be a continuous cycle all night and you never reach the restful phase of sleep. This can leave you in a mentally and physically exhausting state and cause lasting harm on your body.

What Contributes to Sleep Apnea?

  • Obesity/Over weight

  • Large tonsils

  • Alcohol consumption

  • Smoking

  • Sleep position

  • Sleep aid

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Deviated septum

  • Small jaw

  • Not breast fed as an infant

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

  • Snoring

  • Daytime sleepiness

  • Gasping causing you to wake

  • Sleepiness while driving

  • Morning headaches

  • Tossing and turning during sleep

  • Stop breathing during sleep

  • Feeling irritated and unrested

  • Difficulty concentrating

How to Treat Sleep Apnea
CPAP is currently the gold standard for sleep apnea. However, many people have an extremely difficult time consistently using the CPAP. Our office uses a custom oral appliance. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) provides patients with a
well-needed solution. The custom oral appliance is considered equally effective for the mild or moderate case and can successfully threat even severe cases. Almost every patient can wear the custom oral appliance. We have been the answer for 1000’s of patients in Savannah and surrounding areas using our comprehensive approach to dental sleep medicine.  Our goal is to help you achieve quiet restful sleep to improve your overall health and the quality of your life.

To begin your treatment, Dr. Smith will listen carefully to your concerns, thoroughly evaluate your situation and educate you about your problem and the possible solutions. We will then use a series of test, radiographs and an exam to make you a customized treatment plan. After taking intraoral scans of your mouth our lab will begin making your appliance.

When you get your appliance and treatment begins,
your treatment is completed in 4 stages.
Stage 1
Comfort
Stage 2
Subjective Treatment
Stage 3
Objective Treatment
Stage 4
Recall
If you are never comfortable in the appliance, and you cannot wear it, then it will never matter how effective it is.
We are here to listen to you and your condition is individual to you. Based off how you are feeling and communication we will begin to adjust your appliance to make it effective.
This is the point at which we will use medical testing to verify how well the appliance is working or if further titrations or adjustments are needed.
We want to follow up with you and ensure the appliances effectiveness and comfort continues over time.

Why See Us?
When researching information about which doctor is right for you, look to our website for what it is that we do because what we offer is different. Our primary focus is sleep medicine, so your appointment won’t be worked in between dental filling and crown appointments. This IS what we do. We are successful because Dr. Smith is constantly going to conferences to stay up to date on the latest research and treatment for sleep apnea. We take time to educate, treat, and care for our patients. Your success is our success! Let us help educate you about your sleep condition. Once we understand what’s happening when you sleep, we can truly help you on the path to a healthier future.

Dr. Smith is a Diplomate with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine

Consequences of untreated sleep apnea

Sleep apnea causes a great disruption in sleep and keeps you from reaching and maintaining the deeper stages of sleep. When you stop breathing or breathe very shallowly during your sleep, it may result in less oxygen in your blood. Over time, this lack of oxygen can lead to serious health problems. These health problems include high blood pressure, hypertension, A-fib, acid reflux, stroke, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s. Sleep apnea not only takes a physical toll on your body but a mental toll as well. Someone with sleep apnea may feel mentally exhausted and is at a higher risk of depression.

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Mastering Breath

Breathing training is critical to our mission to maintain maximum efficiency of the airway for all patients. The proper practice of breathing techniques benefit the whole body by increasing the strength and flexibility of the respiratory system. This causes increased gas exchange and body control.

We utilize the Buteyko method for breath training and Capnometry to assess the carbon dioxide level within the breath. This biofeedback allows the patient to understand the positive (& negative) effects of oxygen-carbon dioxide balance and imbalance.

Nose breathing is critical for sleep apnea patients; military personnel with PTSD; athletes; and even orthodontic patients, especially as facial growth takes place.