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What Is Sleep Apnea?

What Is Sleep Apnea?

man and woman sleeping in bed

Do you snore? Or gasp for air in your sleep? Do you always feel tired?

If so, you may have sleep apnea or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  Approximately 25 million adults in the United States suffer from sleep apnea. This chronic condition occurs when the muscles relax during sleep, causing the soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. Symptoms include snoring, gasping, or choking sounds during sleep.

Sapna Amin, DDS, is specially trained in sleep apnea evaluations and sleep apnea oral appliance therapy.

For those diagnosed with sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy may be an alternative to a CPAP mask. Dental appliances are a great option for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea and not CPAP compliant and/or cannot tolerate a CPAP mask. Sleep apnea dental appliances are similar in size to a dental night guard and are more comfortable to wear than a CPAP mask. The dental appliance moves the jaw forward, increasing the size of the upper airway and reduces the air resistance that leads to sleep apnea and snoring.

Sleep Apnea Treatment – From the Dentist?

Yes, you read that right. We can help treat sleep apnea here at Flower Mound Family Dentistry. For some that may seem like a rather strange thing for a dentist to do. Many people believe a CPAP machine is the only option to treat sleep apnea, and while that may be recommended for some types of sleep apnea, that certainly is not the case for all patients suffering from sleep apnea.

How can Flower Mound Family Dentistry help with sleep apnea?

At Flower Mound Family Dentistry we look at different symptoms that may be present in a patient that has a sleeping disorder.

  1. Grinding teeth
  2. Snoring
  3. Anatomical features noted on the doctor examination
  4. Sleep apnea

If a patient tells us they have any of these issues, or if we see signs of these problems, there are a few different routes we may take to help.

When a patient comes in for a visit, we can have them answer questions from

Epworth Sleepiness Scale Self-Assessment

The Epworth Sleepiness Scale is widely used in the field of sleep medicine as a subjective measure of a patient’s sleepiness. The test is a list of eight situations in which you rate your tendency to become sleepy on a scale of 0, no chance of dozing, to 3, high chance of dozing. When you finish the test, add up the values of your responses. Your total score is based on a scale of 0 to 24. The scale estimates whether you are experiencing excessive sleepiness that possibly requires medical attention.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, please complete this self-assessment (need to have it attached)

Once Dr.Amin has assessed the patient thoroughly, the next step is to use SleepTest.com and have a home sleep study done. SleepTest.com sets the industry standard in reliable home sleep testing for at-risk, sleep patients. They make sleep testing simple for patients who appreciate evaluations in the comfort of their own beds and effortless for clients with their online HIPAA compliant portal. Their portal acts as a secure ecosystem between SleepTest.com and thier clients, allowing for electronic patient referrals and easy to retrieve sleep test results.

Once this is completed, the results are interpreted by a board-certified sleep physician that works in collaboration with Dr. Amin to evaluate the patient clinically.

A customized treatment plan is devised based on the sleep results. Next a consult appointment is made to discuss the results and planned treatment with the patient and Dr. Amin.

In mild and moderate cases, we can often treat the sleep apnea with one of a few oral appliance options that we will custom fit for the patient. This tends to be less intrusive than a CPAP machine, and the number of people who will use an oral appliance vs. a CPAP is much higher. A CPAP machine is a very good option for many cases of sleep apnea, and it works for thousands of people.

In severe cases, CPAP therapy is the best first line treatment, and patients with this diagnosis will be referred to see a sleep specialist or their physician to initiate therapy.

The Results

We have had patients so excited about the treatment they received from Dr. Amin that they come back and tell us about their experience. It may be that their snoring has ceased, and they are able to sleep with their spouse again. It may be that they simply are more rested now that they are not waking up frequently. It may be that their teeth do not show signs of grinding anymore. We are excited to be able to help people treat their sleeping disorders and get them back to a healthy sleep and DREAMING again!

Contact Us

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suffer from any of the symptoms of sleep disordered breathing, call or email us today to schedule an evaluation. Click here to learn about having a pain-free wisdom teeth recovery after surgery.