Have you heard of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea)? Have you heard the word CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure)? As many as 1 in 4 adults is suffering from OSA. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious disease in which people stop breathing multiple times per hour due to airway obstruction. Snoring, daytime sleepiness, and high blood pressure are common symptoms. Approximately 80% of patients suffering with OSA are not diagnosed! OSA can have very serious consequences if untreated- Heart Attack, Stroke, Type II Diabetes, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Depression, Insomnia, Heartburn/GERD, High Blood Pressure and the list just goes on. A good night's sleep is far more important than many people imagine.
Treatments for OSA include weight loss, positional therapy, surgery, CPAP, lifestyle changes and oral appliance therapy (this is where the dentist comes into play). Many patients have difficulty complying with CPAP, do not want surgery and still suffer despite lifestyle changes and weight loss. Oral appliances are now recognized as a first line treatment and typically more accepted than other treatments.
Dentists that practice dental sleep medicine screen patients for sleep disordered breathing. These dentists also have specialized training in the making and adjustment (titration) of oral appliances to treat OSA. Specialized custom devices are far more effective and safe than over the counter devices that an be purchased at drugs stores or online.
When looking for a sleep dentist it is important to consider the dentists background. Do they have enough continuing education in this field? Are they a member of a non-profit national sleep dental society (for example: American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine)? Are they recognized a qualified or board certified member of that society? Do they bill your insurance for you?
Call today if you would like to have a free sleep analysis! 256-534-1475
Dr. Elizabeth Duling is a member of the AADSM and has been recognized as a qualified provider. She is currently pursuing board certification in dental sleep medicine.