Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment in Spring, TX

Dental Sleep Apnea Treatment in Spring, TX

Patients who snore or have frequent episodes of day time drowsiness and fatigue may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Only a physician can make a diagnosis of OSA. There are a group of dentists who have taken advanced courses and mini residencies to be more aware of the signs and symptoms of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). Dr. Graf has obtained the highest level of recognition of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, Diplomate. He is one of only 6 dentists in the Greater Houston area to attain this level of expertise.

What is Sleep Apnea?

In our practice we routinely screen for OSA and when applicable we refer our patients to a sleep physician for evaluation and diagnosis. If a diagnosis of OSA is made by the physician there are usually several options of treatment. One of which is an oral appliance that is worn at night to position the lower jaw in a more advantageous position to facilitate keeping the airway open.

Snoring is a sign of a lack of oxygen, and is a strain on your heart and other organs. Making sure you get the proper amount of oxygen allows you to get better rest than you would get when lacking the proper amount of oxygen. This will result in you feeling healthier every day.

What is Sleep Apnea Treatment?

Once a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea has been made by a sleep physician, patients are usually given choices of treatment. With a diagnosis of Mild or Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) sleep physicians usually will consult with patients in helping them choose between two treatments. The first is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). This is a mask that patients wear over their face that forces air into the throat to provide a ” pneumonic splint”. In other words the air pressure coming from the mask forces the collapsed and narrowed airway to open up. This approach works well for many people, however there is a significant percentage of the population of patients with sleep apnea who cannot tolerate this mode of treatment. Which brings us to the second major path of treatment, oral appliances. Oral sleep appliances are good choices for patients whose sleep study showed mild or moderate sleep apnea. If you and your sleep physician decide on oral appliance therapy, a prescription will be given to Dr. Graf to take impressions for the sleep apnea oral device. These impressions will be used to fabricate upper and a lower splints which are connected together. This device is adjustable and allows Dr. Graf to orient the upper and lower jaws to the most optimal position for providing the maximum opening of the oral airway in the reclined position during sleep. At night our brain and endocrine systems need to cleanse, detoxify, and reprogram. The brain does this in the deepest stages of sleep, primarily REM stage sleep. REM stage sleep accounts for only a small portion of a patients total sleep time. It is the most important part of our nights rest.

Why Is Treatment For Obstructive Sleep Apnea So Important?

Patients with OSA will experience airway collapse several times during the night. When this occurs the brain will wake the patient up so that a deep breath can be taken. As these events occur with some frequency all across the total time in bed, at some point the REM stage sleep will be interrupted. Taking the patient out of the most important stage of sleep has an extremely negative health consequence, as the rejuvenating and regeneration process our bodies require is stopped. In most patients REM sleep in rarely reacquired, and if it is it is for a significantly shortened period of time. Many of these patients end up either beginning to have heart, vascular/cholesterol, kidney, pancreatic, and dementia problems. The overlap of all patients with the medical conditions just mentioned with Obstructive Sleep Apnea is over 60% according to the latest data available to medical researchers.

So sleeping well is not just a luxury, but an absolute necessity for long and healthy life.

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