It is estimated that 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of chronic, long term sleep disorder. Among these disorders are snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). While the symptoms of snoring are well known, those of OSA are not. OSA typically occurs as a patient falls to sleep. As they relax, their decreased muscle tone allows the jaw to fall open, narrowing and ultimately closing the airway. They subconsciously attempt to breathe but no air passes into the lungs. This may go on for almost a minute until they are awakened enough to suddenly gasp for air. Regular breathing commences until they again relax, allowing the same cycle to repeat itself over and over again. This can occur hundreds of times per night.
Beyond the noise and disruption of snoring, few of us are aware of the possible consequences of sleep disordered breathing.
Scientific studies have shown persons suffering with OSA to have up to 23 times greater risk of a heart attack than someone who sleeps normally. There is also a demonstrated association between snoring and strokes.
For the past 13 years Dr. Schroder has been working closely with the medical community in sleep medicine, as well as the nation’s leading dentists in the treatment of sleep disordered breathing. These relationships, as well as a tremendous amount of study have given us the ability to help many people. The test that diagnoses Sleep Apnea is a polysomnogram. It requires an overnight stay at a Sleep Lab. The medical treatment for the condition is CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Both are the gold standard for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disordered breathing and can be very effective. Fortunately we have alternatives to both.
We have a monitoring device that our patients can take home to their own bedrooms and evaluate the severity of their disease. For those patients who are deemed candidates, many of whom are CPAP failures, we can create an oral appliance which prevents snoring and sleep apnea so it improves overall health and quality of life for people who suffer from sleep-disordered breathing. The device helps to prevent a patient's lower jaw from falling back during sleep, thereby keeping the airway open and dramatically reducing or eliminating the problems of snoring and OSA. The fabrication of the oral appliance requires dental impressions of the upper and lower teeth and resembles an athletic mouthguard when completed. Using these appliances can result in a significant reduction in the incidence of snoring and OSA.
If you or a loved one suffers from Sleep Disordered Breathing, please contact our office to discuss the ways that we may be able to help you.