Case Study 5 – Dr. Dan: Dental Solutions for a Good Night’s Sleep
Dr. Dan: Dental Solutions for a Good Night’s Sleep
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the leading cause of disruptive snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness. It has also been found to be responsible for job impairment, motor vehicle crashes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, memory problems, weight gain, headaches, and even impotency.
Sleep apnea victims are involved with more auto accidents and have higher divorce rates. OSA puts a lot of mental and emotional stress on individuals, leaving them depressed, sleep deprived, and sometimes mentally unstable. This leads to a lack of reasoning skills and accountability.
The most frightening thing about sleep apnea is it is possible to have it and not be aware of it. In fact, most people only find that they have sleep apnea because their bed partner complains that they are snoring. Thankfully, there are some signs to watch out for:
- Waking up choking and gasping for air
- Restlessness and frequent waking throughout the night
- Morning headaches
- Dryness or even soreness in the throat
- Mood swings, forgetfulness, and a sense of just not being ‘with it.’
So why am I telling you this? About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
The process of finding this out started with minor symptoms. I was tired most of the time. I would nod off at the movies or watching television. I knew I had a problem, but at that time, there were basically only two options available for treatment. I could undergo surgery or I could try the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine.
Together my physician and I decided on a CPAP machine. I used it for several years with limited success. The machine was bulky, awkward, noisy, and inconvenient. It also left me feeling awful the next day because it affected my sleep in almost as bad a way as did my sleep apnea. So I pursued several of the surgeries available, which unfortunately also resulted in little, if any, success in reducing my symptoms.
Approximately five years ago, my doctors updated my sleep study, and they fitted me with a new and improved CPAP machine. Unfortunately, I had no more success with this one than the previous one.
Finally, it was determined that when I bring my teeth together while I’m sleeping, my air passageway is obstructed by the anatomy of my throat. The air from the CPAP was going in my nasal passages and out of my mouth. So my physician tried fitting me with a head strap to keep my mouth closed. This also didn’t bring me any relief from my sleep apnea.
Three years ago, I decided to try out an oral appliance. Thankfully, this dental solution was a great success! The oral appliance comfortably holds my lower jaw down and slightly forward, resulting in an open air passageway, allowing me to breathe freely while I sleep. I am no longer burdened by the cumbersome machine, nor do I face any more surgeries.
The best part? I’m finally getting restful sleep, a big factor in maintaining good overall health.
Want to find out how to help those in your office suffering from sleep apnea? Check out our easy way to get started!