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oral appliance

While You Are Sleeping

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Sleep Apnea is a hot topic these days.  Our own Dr. Giesler and Dr. Kovitch wrote an article about sleep apnea that was published in Best Self magazine.  And well it should be.  According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, sleep apnea is so common that it affects more than 18 million people in America.  However, 1 of every 27 people (or 3.68%) are undiagnosed.  That’s over 10 million Americans.

And it’s more than just snoring and poor sleeping habits at night.  Sleep apnea can be the cause of many side effects, including sleepiness during the day, moodiness, low energy and focus, headaches, increased body weight, and it can even cause you to be more likely to have a heart attack while sleeping.  These symptoms don’t just apply to the stereotypical “overweight male over 40” either.  Anyone can suffer from sleep apnea regardless of their gender, age or health, even children.

Alternative Treatment Options

Most people think that the only treatment for sleep apnea is a snore mask called a CPAP machine.  We’ve all seen it on TV shows and movies, and some of us may even shudder at the thought of having to wear an apparatus akin to a Darth Vader mask to sleep.  Though the CPAP machine is traditionally the most commonly prescribed method, there are other alternatives to treating this serious condition that are both less bulky and less offensive to your partner!

As featured recently on The Doctors’ Show, a new surgery claims to cure it by moving the tongue out of the way during sleep, timed in conjunction with the sleeper’s own breathing patterns.   However, for those of you not ready to try a new and invasive surgical procedure, Atlanta Smiles & Wellness has an alternative (and less expensive) form of treatment that sleep apnea sufferers who are CPAP intolerant can use.

Dr. Giesler and Dr. Kovitch tell their patients that a CPAP machine is the best treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, but not all patients can tolerate the mask and end up storing it under their beds to collect dust.  Surprisingly, only about 40% of patients with a snore mask actually use it!  For the other 60%, a two-piece oral appliance worn during sleep that creates a space for the air to travel, thus preventing the soft tissue from collapsing and disrupting breathing patterns, may be a more feasible solution.  This alternative treatment is not only quieter and more comfortable, it is also much smaller than the CPAP machine (which makes it more convenient for travel as well).

A Sleep Study Is the Only Way to Know for Sure

75% of us have at least one of the above-mentioned symptoms of this condition.  So, how do you know if you have sleep apnea?  The only true way to be diagnosed is to participate in a sleep study.  For more information on sleep studies in your area, please consult your physician.  Or if you do not have a regular physician, we would be happy to refer you to one.  At Atlanta Smiles and Wellness, we care about more than just giving you a beautiful smile.