Minimize Sleep Apnea with Oral Appliance Therapy
Obstructive sleep apnea, also known as OSA, is a sleep condition which affects over 18 million American adults. Although some symptoms are more irritating than dangerous, an untreated condition can affect your cardiovascular health, energy levels, and overall quality of life.
Dr. Clifford Degel and Dr. Carmen Every-Degel provide sleep apnea treatment for patients with OSA at their practice in Queens, NY. By designing and providing a custom oral appliance, our doctors can help you reduce the incidence of sleep apnea systems and enjoy a newfound energy during the daytime.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is caused by a blockage in the airway which prevents air from properly entering your lungs while you sleep. This can cause you to stop breathing for several seconds or minutes, often dozens or hundreds of times throughout the night. Each time, you may wake up abruptly with a loud snort or choking sound before going back to sleep.
In many cases, sleep apnea is also accompanied by light to severe snoring. Most people do not even realize there is a problem until a family member or partner alerts them to it.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The American Sleep Apnea Association estimates that 80 percent of sleep apnea cases are currently undiagnosed. This may be because many of the symptoms of sleep apnea occur while you sleep, including:
- Persistent snoring
- Pauses in breathing
- Suddenly waking up while gasping for air
- Frequent need to urinate during the night
- Tossing and turning
However, there are certain daytime symptoms which can indicate that you have sleep apnea, such as:
- Difficulty concentrating or retaining information
- Bad mood and depression
Sleep apnea can severely affect your mood, relationships, and your overall quality of life. The oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnea has also been linked to serious health problems including high blood pressure, a weakened immune system, and an increased risk of stroke. Consequently, it is important to get a formal diagnosis for your condition as soon as possible.
Your Sleep Apnea Consultation
During your consultation, one of our doctors will discuss your medical history and symptoms with you. If necessary, we may order a sleep study. A sleep specialist will send you home with a device which measures your sleeping patterns. Based on these results, we will determine whether you are a good candidate for oral appliance therapy.
The Treatment Timeline
For most patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, we can design and test an oral appliance at our office within two appointments.
In order to design an oral appliance which fits snugly and comfortably during sleep, we will first collect impressions of your smile. For most patients, we are able to use our TRIOS® 3Shape scanner to take digital impressions. These are then sent to the manufacturer for fabrication.
Creating Your Custom Appliance
Our office works with Glidewell Laboratories to provide treatment using the Thornton Adjustable Positioner, also known as the TAP® appliance. The appliance is adjusted for your comfort and maximum effectiveness.
Delivering Your Appliance
Your custom appliance will be delivered back to our office within a couple of weeks of your initial appointment. During this appointment, one of our doctors will allow you to try on your appliance to ensure that it fits comfortably.
You can begin wearing your TAP appliance immediately after your appointment. The device works by shifting your lower jaw forward, opening your airway, and allowing oxygen to re-enter your lungs. Almost as soon as they start using the device, patients can expect:
- Reduced snoring
- Fewer episodes of interrupted breathing
- More energy throughout the day
A study conducted by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that oral appliance therapy was effective in reducing sleep apnea episodes, as well as improving physiological and behavioral wellness.
Seek Treatment for Your Sleep Disorder
Our doctors have helped patients achieve relief from the debilitating symptoms of sleep apnea with oral appliance treatment. This treatment is safe, simple, and considerably more comfortable than options such as continuous positive airway pressure therapy. To learn whether an oral appliance can help your unique case, schedule a consultation with our doctors online or call Astoria Dental Group at (718) 278-1123.