Sleep Apnea: Now, Rest for the Weary
Do you experience:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness?
- Waking up NOT feeling refreshed?
- A difference in your level of attention, concentration or memory?
- Suffer from more than just a few restless nights?
Are you tired, stressed out, and moody because of interrupted sleep? Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops for periods of 10 seconds or longer, can interrupt the deep sleep that makes people feel rested. Non-surgical dental appliances have proven more effective than surgery for many sleep apnea patients.
What is Sleep Apnea?
When a sleeping person stops breathing for 10 or more seconds, they have "apnea." OSAS, or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, is one type of sleep apnea. Lack of adequate breath during sleep reduces airflow, causing the brain to tell the body to wake up and breathe. In some cases, sleep apnea patients only move into a lighter stage of sleep, or patients may wake completely.
What's the Problem?
Many factors may contribute to airway blockage, from the size of passages and oral or airway structures, to swelling of passageways or position of the tongue. Disrupted deep sleep can affect mood, health, and cause daytime sleepiness. The added stress and fatigue can cause lack of concentration, loss of memory, and accidents in the workplace or while driving. Other health risks include high blood pressure and heart problems, and even a risk of premature death. The sleep apnea patient's snores can disturb a sleeping partner's rest, too.
Non-Surgical Sleep Apnea Therapies
A few tests can determine whether you suffer from OSAS, and non-surgical therapies may alleviate the problem. A nasal mask (cPAP) can deliver air to keep nasal passages open during sleep. For those who cannot tolerate a CPAP mask, patients may now wear dental appliances that reposition the tongue or mandible (lower jawbone). A Swedish study showed that the anterior mandibular positioning dental device (AMP) is actually more effective than surgical therapies.
The TAP oral appliance is a custom-made, adjustable mandibular advancement device. It consists of upper and lower trays that look very similar to a sports mouth guard. The trays employ a hook and bar mechanism to engage and advance the mandible. Once engaged, the patient can advance their lower jaw using a small hex key. Patients are given a titration schedule by their dentist, which will advance their lower jaw out the to the optimal treatment position over time. This adjustability feature eliminates frequent trips to the dentist for adjustment. Unique features of the TAP make it the only device on the market that can be adjusted while in the patient’s mouth. Thus, the TAP can be easily titrated during a sleep study by a sleep technologist without requiring the patient to remove the appliance from their mouth.
The TAP oral appliance is supported by more than 20 independent clinical research papers. Several of the studies demonstrate that the TAP alone is clinically effective in treating severe sleep apnea. Selected research findings include:
- TAP is the only oral appliance that is “not inferior to CPAP.”
- TAP has compliance rates over 86% and as high as 95%.
- TAP treats all levels of sleep disordered breathing from mild to severe sleep apnea.
- TAP therapy improves cardiac function.
- TAP therapy improves simulated driving performance.
The same study stated that adverse health effects and appliance repairs were rare.
According to experts, sleep apnea is an under-diagnosed condition, and more men than women suffer. If your sleeping partner says you snore or stop breathing while asleep, or if you experience daytime sleepiness, contact us for a consultation. A sleep apnea device may improve your quality of life. It's just another way we can help you smile.