Sleep apnea is a disruption of deep restorative sleep multiple times per hour throughout the night. This lack of quality sleep will lead to many systemic issues such as high blood pressure, chronic fatigue, GERD, diabetes, etc.
There are two types of sleep apnea:
- Obstructive sleep apnea – OSA occurs due to a physical blockage, usually the collapsing of the soft tissue in the back of the throat.
- Central sleep apnea – CSA occurs when breathing stops because the muscles involved don't receive the proper signal from the brain.
While sleep apnea can affect anyone, it most often occurs in men over the age of 50 with large necks and a large body mass index. Sleep apnea is also associated with sleeping on your back. Sleep apnea is also associated with:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Chronic fatigue
- Falling asleep in less than six minutes when going to bed
- Falling asleep when watching TV
- High blood pressure
- Cardiac angina
Diagnosis and Treatment
To determine if you have sleep apnea, we perform a screening that examines the size of your tongue, soft palate, tonsils, neck, and signs of gastrointestinal reflux. A referral to a sleep apnea physician may be necessary to complete your diagnosis and treatment plan.
If you cannot tolerate a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device, we customize an oral appliance that moves the tongue forward to open the airway. This appliance is referred to as a mandibular advancement device, or MAD.
The MAD is a specially designed dental device that gently helps keep the lower jaw, or mandible, in a forward position to increase the space between the airway passages. Some devices also stop the tongue from falling back over your windpipe. Dr. Bernardy will fit these special appliances to meet your individual condition.
The Riverview Dental team has more than 60 hours of continuing education in sleep disorder treatments and can guide you to the right type of oral appliances that will work best with your level of sleep apnea and condition of your teeth.
To learn more about a mandibular advancement device, contact our Auburn dental practice and schedule an appointment.