Sleep Apnea

What Is a Sleep Apnea Dentist?

A sleep apnea dentist is a regular dentist who is also an expert in Dental Sleep Medicine. These dentists have spent much time studying all elements of sleep apnea dentistry. Sleep apnea dentists focus on using oral appliance therapy to treat sleep-disordered breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring. To identify the best sleep apnea treatment for each patient, sleep apnea dentists work together with sleep physicians.

Are There Oral Signs of Obstructive Sleep Apnea That a Sleep Apnea Dentist Can See

There are many things a sleep apnea dentist might observe in your mouth that can indicate you might suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Some of the oral signs of OSA a dentist skilled in sleep apnea dentistry might see include:

  • There are visible signs of bruxism or nighttime tooth grinding, such as heavily worn and chipped teeth, dental fillings, and crowns. The correlation between bruxism and sleep apnea is relatively high.
  • Large tongue with a high vertical position. If your tongue is more significant than average and at a high position in your mouth, it blocks a portion of your throat and airway. When you lie down at night, you will likely experience a full airway blockage—blocked airways cause brief awakenings and interrupted sleep.
  • Acid wear and signs of reflux. Growing evidence is showing a link between OSA and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). When your airway collapses multiple times during sleep, the air pressure of your esophagus changes, which may allow stomach acid to move up and erode the enamel of your teeth. Grinding your teeth in these acidic conditions can rapidly destroy tooth enamel and dentin.

Oral Appliance Therapy from a Sleep Apnea Dentist Is an Effective Treatment Option for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is one of the most commonly used treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. It involves a patient with OSA wearing a removable oral appliance, often called a sleep apnea mouthpiece, while sleeping. These dental devices look like a sports mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer but fit more comfortably. These custom-fitted oral appliances provide effective treatment for sleep apnea.

Oral appliances keep your airway open, improving breathing ability and increasing oxygen levels during sleep. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) from a sleep apnea dentist can reduce and eliminate the side effects of sleep apnea. OAT is also more convenient than a loud and bulky CPAP machine.

Oral appliance therapy at our sleep apnea dentist office can reduce and eliminate the side effects of sleep apnea and help alleviate any discomfort associated with TMJ disorders. These are the two most common types of oral appliances used in sleep apnea treatment. They both work to keep tissues and jaw position from obstructing oxygen intake.

What kinds of oral appliances does a sleep apnea dentist use to treat OSA?

There are multiple different types of oral appliances a sleep apnea dentist can use to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Still, the two most common dental appliance types are mandibular advancement devices and tongue-retaining mouthpieces. These dental devices help to open your airway while you sleep.

Mandibular Advancement Devices

Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) look like mouthguards used by sports players. These mouthguards fit over your upper and lower teeth and have a hinge that connects the two trays in the center. Mandibular advancement devices hold your lower jaw and tongue slightly forward. This helps keep the soft tissues at the back of your mouth and throat from blocking your airway, which allows better airflow and increased oxygen levels in your blood and brain. Dentists trained in sleep apnea dentistry can adjust the fit and position of a MAD to improve its comfort and effectiveness.

MADs look like athletic mouthguards that fit over the upper and lower sets of teeth. A hinge connects the two trays in the center. This device holds the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward at night. It helps keep the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat from blocking the airway when they relax during sleep. Specially trained dentists can adjust the position and fit of MADs to increase comfort and effectiveness.

Tongue-retaining Mouthpieces

Tongue-retaining mouthpieces may be helpful for obstructive sleep apnea sufferers with minimal jaw flexibility. Tongue-retaining mouthpieces are oral appliances that keep your tongue from falling back into your airway while asleep. These dental devices fit around your tongue and hold it in place with a light suction force. Tongue-retaining mouthpieces look similar to a pacifier but have a hole in the middle and are designed to hold your tongue in place.

Advantages of Using Sleep Apnea Dental Appliances from a Sleep Apnea Dentist

Using dental appliances from a dentist trained in sleep apnea dentistry can eliminate or reduce snoring. Oral appliance therapy can also improve sleep apnea symptoms like concentration issues, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and moodiness. Custom-made oral appliances are a popular and effective treatment option for sleep apnea since they provide significant advantages over breathing devices like CPAP machines.

Custom-made oral appliances from a sleep apnea dentist are:

  • Comfortable
  • Not loud and noisy like breathing devices
  • Compact and portable
  • Small and discreet
  • Easier to take and use when traveling
  • Don’t require electricity.

To learn more about using oral appliances from a sleep apnea dentist to treat your obstructive sleep apnea, call Sleep Better Columbus at 614-777-7350.

Treatment Options to Avoid Sleep Apnea Surgery Risks

Sleep Apnea Surgeries Have Multiple Potential Side Effects and Complications

All surgical procedures carry potential risks and possible complications, and this is no different for each type of sleep apnea surgery. The more invasive a sleep apnea surgery is, the higher the risk level for the sleep apnea patient. Thankfully, non-invasive sleep apnea treatment is possible.

Some of the side effects and complications from sleep apnea surgery depend upon the surgical procedure’s location. Sleep apnea surgeries that affect the soft tissues of your nose, mouth, throat, neck, or airway carry an increased risk for complications localized to those specific areas. At the same time, nerve stimulators, such as the Inspire system, have unique risks associated with the nerve-stimulating device’s location and potential malfunctions.

Surgical procedures require anesthesia, which is a concern for sleep apnea patients. Anesthesia, specifically general anesthesia, can be quite dangerous for patients who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).  Using anesthesia is riskier when you have sleep apnea because the condition slows down breathing and can make you more susceptible to the effects of anesthesia. Additionally, sleep apnea can make it harder for patients to become conscious again and take a breath after surgery.

Risks Associated with Sleep Apnea Surgeries

There are several risks associated with surgery in general. Some of the risks associated with sleep apnea surgeries include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • excessive bleeding
  • blood clots
  • infection
  • new breathing problems
  • urinary retention
  • deep vein thrombosis (blood clots)
  • difficulties with swallowing
  • nerve injuries
  • an allergic reaction to the anesthesia
  • loss of sensation or feeling in the affected area
  • muscle weakness in the adjacent muscles
  • pulmonary embolism
  • injuries to your teeth, tongue, or soft palate

Additional Risks Associated with Surgically Implanted Sleep Apnea Treatment Devices

Surgically implanted sleep apnea treatment devices, like the Inspire system, carry additional risks.  Risks related to the surgery itself include swelling, nausea, pain, headaches, infection, and temporary tongue weakness. In some cases, these issues take months to resolve and require medication.

Risks explicitly associated with a nerve-stimulating device that has been surgically implanted include:

  • mouth dryness
  • tongue abrasions
  • discomfort from stimulation
  • discomfort from the presence of the device
  • a potentially lengthy period of making adjustments to stimulator settings to alleviate or eliminate side effects from the device
  • another surgery is required if the device doesn’t work for you and needs to be removed.

Alternative and Complementary Treatment Options for Sleep Apnea Are Safer than Surgical Options

Several non-surgical sleep apnea treatment options can be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. These alternative treatment options can be used alone or in combination and don’t have the potential downsides or risks that sleep apnea surgeries have. The sleep specialists at Sleep Better Columbus will work with you to find alternative sleep apnea treatments that work for you.

Alternative treatments can include lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime, quitting smoking, frequent and increased physical exercise, and weight loss when indicated.

Other nonsurgical and safer sleep apnea treatment alternatives include:

  • custom oral appliances (or dental devices)
  • different types of PAP (positive airway pressure) machines
    • CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines
    • APAP (automatic positive airway pressure) machines
    • BPAP (bilevel positive airway pressure) machines
    • ASV (adaptive servo-ventilation) machines
  • oropharyngeal exercises
  • positional therapy
  • nasal resistors

Dental Devices Offer Sleep Apnea Patients a Safe and Effective Treatment Alternative to Sleep Apnea Surgeries

Oral appliance therapy is a nonsurgical treatment option that is an effective sleep apnea treatment for many people who have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Using a dental device or sleep apnea mouthpiece to treat sleep apnea is a safer treatment option and doesn’t carry the numerous risks associated with sleep apnea surgeries.

An oral appliance or dental device for sleep apnea treatment is a specially fitted device custom-made by a dentist trained in sleep medicine. An oral appliance’s primary purpose is to keep the airway open during sleep so the normal airflow during breathing isn’t blocked. These dental devices look like a sports mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer but fit more comfortably. The most common oral appliances are mandibular advancement devices (MADs) and tongue-retaining devices (TRDs).

  • Mandibular advancement devices are sophistically designed to combat obstructive sleep apnea effectively. MADs called mandibular advancement splints, keep your airway unobstructed by gently moving your jaw forward.
  • Tongue-retaining devices, also known as tongue-stabilizing devices or TSDs, keep your tongue from sliding to the back of your mouth and blocking your airway.

Advantages of Using Dental Appliances to Treat Sleep Apnea

Using dental appliances to treat sleep apnea can also improve other symptoms like concentration issues, daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and moodiness. Custom-made oral appliances from a sleep apnea dentist are a popular and effective treatment option since they provide significant advantages and fewer risks compared to other sleep apnea treatments like breathing devices and surgeries.

Advantages of using custom-made dental devices from Sleep Better Columbus include:

  • Comfortable to wear
  • It is just as effective as other treatment options, including breathing devices and surgical options
  • Not as invasive as surgery
  • Not loud and noisy like breathing devices
  • Relatively nonintrusive
  • Compact and portable
  • Small and discreet
  • Require no recovery time
  • Less risky than sleep apnea surgery
  • Easier to take and use when traveling
  • Don’t require electricity
  • Convenient to use
  • Lower out-of-pocket costs

Sleep Apnea Specialists Can Help Treat Sleep Apnea without Surgery

The sleep apnea specialists at Sleep Better Columbus are committed to providing compassionate care for all patients and helping each one find the best sleep apnea treatment. We understand that many patients have concerns about sleep apnea treatment options and may prefer alternatives to CPAP machines and sleep apnea surgery.

Sleep Better Columbus’s sleep apnea therapy solution is a simple, comfortable solution that will help those with sleep-disordered breathing sleep better quickly. Specially designed mouthpieces provide an effective and comfortable sleep apnea treatment alternative without the associated risk of sleep apnea surgery.

To learn more about custom oral appliances to treat your sleep apnea without surgery, call the sleep disordered breathing experts at Sleep Better Columbus at 614-777-7350 or book an appointment online.

 

How to Get a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard

When you’re wrestling with night time interruptions from sleep apnea, finding the proper treatment can be life-changing.

The thought of using a cumbersome CPAP machine can be daunting, and that’s where exploring the use of a sleep apnea mouth guard comes into play.

These ingenious devices, tailored to alleviate the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, provide a more comfortable and less invasive option, ensuring a peaceful slumber without bulkiness.

We’ll explore the options available and guide you through choosing one that fits your needs seamlessly.

Keep reading to learn how a simple mouth guard from Sleep Better Columbus could be the key to treating sleep apnea and reclaiming your nights.

Understanding the Need for Sleep Apnea Mouth Guards

Addressing and treating your sleep apnea is essential for ensuring a healthy, restful sleep.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can range from minor symptoms like daytime fatigue to more serious health complications such as hypertension and cardiovascular disease.

When sleep apnea is left untreated, you will begin experiencing more severe health complications. If you struggle to use a CPAP or believe it’s not the right treatment option, a sleep apnea mouth guard might be your solution for Effective Sleep Apnea Therapy.

Exploring the Basics of Sleep Apnea and Its Dangers

Sleep apnea lurks unnoticed in many lives, a silent disruptor of restorative sleep. This sleep disorder forces your body to endure repetitive pauses in breathing, a condition that will lead to severe health issues if left untreated.

Awareness is the first defense against the creeping dangers of sleep apnea. The risk of heart complications, stroke, and even day-to-day challenges like excessive daytime sleepiness and concentration difficulties are real concerns that necessitate prompt attention:

Health Complication Potential Consequence of Untreated Sleep Apnea
Cardiovascular Issues Increased Risk of High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack
Stroke Possible Due to Oxygen Deprivation
Day-to-Day Challenges Impaired Cognitive Function, Drowsiness

Signs That You Might Need a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard

Recognizing that you might benefit from a sleep apnea mouth guard begins with listening to your body and observing changes in your typical rest patterns. Loud, chronic snoring paired with episodes where your breathing seems to stop or gasping for air during the night are clear signals that point toward obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), where a mouth guard can come into play, offering a solution tailored to enhance airway stability.

Daytime signs of sleep apnea include constant morning headaches, sore throat or dry mouth upon waking, irritability, and exhaustion even after a whole night of sleep.

Types of Mouth Guards for Sleep Apnea Sufferers

All sleep apnea mouth guards are not created equal, and understanding the differences between over-the-counter (OTC) options and custom-fitted solutions provided by specialists like Sleep Better Columbus can help you decide which mouth guard would be the best choice for you.

Mandibular Advancement Splints (MADs) and Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSDs) are effective treatment options for sleep apnea, but each works differently.

Examining the Difference Between OTC and Custom-Fit Options

Over-the-counter (OTC) mouth guards are readily available and often less expensive than custom-fitted solutions. Still, OTC models need a more precise fit, a custom-fitted option from a provider like Sleep Better Columbus can offer.

Custom-fitted mouth guards are more comfortable and effective in managing sleep apnea symptoms. Unlike generic OTC mouth guards, custom-fitted mouth guards are designed to conform perfectly to your dental structure after a careful assessment.

Reviewing Mandibular Advancement Devices and Tongue Stabilizing Devices

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) are sophistically designed to combat obstructive sleep apnea effectively and also referred to as a mandibular advancement splint, MADs operate by gently shifting the lower jaw forward, a subtle motion that maintains an open airway, thus curtailing the obstructive episodes that are symptomatic of the sleep apnea sleep disorder.

Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSDs) are oral appliances that treat sleep apnea by holding the tongue in place, thereby mitigating the risk of airway blockage that can contribute to sleep interruptions.

How to Choose the Right Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard for You

Choosing the appropriate sleep apnea mouth guard is paramount to ensuring effective treatment and a comfortable night’s sleep that contributes to a better quality of life.

Evaluate factors like fit, comfort, and adjustability, and keep your specific diagnosis and unique breathing patterns in mind when selecting an oral appliance that will best fit your needs.

Evaluating Fit, Comfort, and Adjustability Features

A mouth guard’s effectiveness in treating sleep apnea is linked with its fit, which should be snug but not constrictive, ensuring it stays in place to perform its job without causing any discomfort.

Your mouth guard should feel comfortable enough to wear quickly for your sleep. Adjustable mouth guards will allow you to fine-tune the oral appliance to ensure ongoing comfort and efficacy and account for any subtle changes in your dental structure.

Considering Your Specific Diagnosis and Breathing Patterns

Diagnosing sleep apnea is a personal journey, and an intensive evaluation of your breathing patterns during sleep is vital. Not everyone will exhibit the same breathing patterns or severity. It’s critical to consider whether you’re contending with obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, or complex sleep apnea syndrome, as each type dictates a specialized approach to manage breathing disruptions effectively with an oral appliance.

The Proper Way to Use a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard

Understanding how to use the mouth guard correctly is as critical as the initial decision to adopt this therapy. Knowing how to use and care for your sleep apnea mouth guard properly will help you easily add your mouth guard to your nightly routine and maintain the longevity of your oral appliance.

Step-by-Step Instructions on Wearing Your Device Correctly

After you’ve decided to use a mouth guard to treat your sleep apnea, you’ll go through a fitting process with a sleep medicine healthcare provider who will then design your custom device. When you are ready for bed, you’ll insert your mouth guard in your mouth and press it against your upper and lower dental arches to ensure it fits snugly so it will work effectively.

Tips for Maintaining Hygiene and Longevity of Your Mouth Guard

Maintaining the hygiene of your sleep apnea mouth guard is an aspect of treatment that should always be considered. It ensures not only the effectiveness of the device but also secures your oral health. A good routine is to clean your mouth guard with cool water and a soft-bristle toothbrush every morning before placing it in its unique container; avoid any harsh chemicals or boiling water that could deform your oral appliance.

Maintenance Step Reason Frequency
Cleaning with cool water and a soft-bristle toothbrush To remove bacteria and prevent oral health issues Daily
Inspection for wear and tear To ensure the device’s integrity and proper function Weekly
Avoiding harsh chemicals and boiling water To prevent material deformation Each cleaning

Sleep Better Columbus – Custom Sleep Apnea Mouth Guards

Understanding and treating sleep apnea with the appropriate mouth guard is essential for achieving restful sleep and maintaining overall health.

Paying attention to sleep apnea symptoms, such as chronic snoring and gasping for breath, is critical for prompt, timely intervention with devices like Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) or Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSDs).

Proper use and maintenance of your sleep apnea mouth guard are critical for its effectiveness and oral health.

Mouth guards are an effective treatment option that can alleviate the impact of sleep apnea and allow you to enjoy the benefits of a peaceful night’s sleep.

To learn more about how you can get a custom sleep apnea mouthguard or to schedule your appointment, call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 777-7350 or contact our sleep apnea experts online.

 

 

Post-Covid Sleep Apnea

Study Finds People May Have Obstructive Sleep Apnea After Covid-19

After having COVID-19, many people have been experiencing symptoms like intense fatigue, shortness of breath, daytime sleepiness, memory and concentration problems, and brain fog. Recent studies have found these symptoms may be because of reduced sleep efficiency and undiagnosed obstructive sleep apnea.

Some people who have had COVID continue to experience these symptoms, sometimes with chronic pain and chest pain, for weeks, months, or years after they had a SARS-CoV-2 infection. The CDC labels health consequences present four or more weeks after a COVID-19 infection as Post-COVID Conditions (PCC), which many people refer to as Long Covid.

Long Covid and Sleep Apnea

Long COVID is a condition where symptoms surface and linger for weeks, months, or even years after someone has recovered from Covid-19. More than 40% of people who have Long Covid have reported sleep issues like insomnia, chronic fatigue, daytime drowsiness, waking up multiple times during the night, and not feeling refreshed when they wake up in the morning. These symptoms and others, such as chronic pain, chest pain, and intense fatigue, can become debilitating, and severe cases of Long Covid can even affect your organs.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when an individual’s breathing is repeatedly interrupted during sleep due to blockage of the airways, often caused by the back of the tongue. This can happen up to 80 to 120 times per hour, with each episode potentially lasting a perilously long duration. With each cessation of breathing, there’s an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, along with a critical drop in the body’s oxygen levels.

The Relationship Between Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and COVID affect many of the same systems in your body. With many overlapping health issues linked to COVID-19 and sleep apnea, many researchers are working to understand the relationship between these two conditions fully.

Both sleep apnea and COVID-19 can cause hypoxemia, a condition when there is too little oxygen in your blood. Sleep apnea causes this by the large number of repeated reductions in breathing during sleep, and COVID hinders your breathing through its effects on a person’s lungs and respiratory tract.

COVID-19 and untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) both affect the cardiovascular system negatively. When OSA isn’t treated, it increases the risk of cardiovascular problems like strokes and high blood pressure, and patients with COVID have similar disrupted cardiovascular functions.

Both OSA and COVID-19 are health conditions that can often affect the quality of your sleep. The frequent nighttime awakenings caused by OSA interfere with sleep, and studies have found similar sleep interferences in people with COVID, which could be caused by the disease’s wide range of symptoms.

Treating OSA After Covid-19

Addressing obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) post-COVID can lower your risk of various health problems, including heart-related conditions. Your treatment strategy might involve lifestyle modifications like regular and increased physical exercise, weight reduction if necessary, and steering clear of alcohol and sedative drugs before sleep. Non-invasive treatment methods that could be included in your plan encompass the use of oral appliances, nasal resistors, exercises for the oropharynx, positional therapy, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

Compliance with your sleep apnea treatment plan is essential to effectively manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its symptoms and improve your health. Many people are concerned they will struggle to be compliant if they have to use CPAP therapy, and their symptoms won’t improve. For those diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances that are registered with the FDA offer an effective treatment choice. These appliances are often found to be comfortable and minimally invasive. A dentist skilled in dental sleep medicine will be able to select the most suitable oral appliance for your needs.

What Should I Do If I Think I Have Sleep Apnea After Covid?

If you think you have sleep apnea after COVID-19 or with Long Covid, you should talk with a sleep apnea specialist. A sleep apnea specialist is a doctor who helps you with sleep-related issues and diagnoses and treats sleep disorders. Sleep apnea specialists often have different backgrounds but have received extra training in sleep medicine or dental sleep medicine.

Consulting with a doctor is especially important since untreated OSA creates short-term and long-term health issues that can degrade a person’s quality of life. In some cases, untreated obstructive sleep apnea may potentially incapacitate affected individuals.

Sleep Better Columbus Can Help You with Your Post-Covid Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a severe condition, and Dr. Levy with Sleep Better Columbus can help you effectively treat your post-covid sleep apnea. Reach out to us today for a sleep apnea consultation.

Book an appointment online or call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 777-7350.

 

The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Cognitive Problems

Research has shown a link exists between sleep apnea and cognitive problems. When obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is left untreated, and someone is deprived of healthy sleep long-term, they show poorer mental function and experience many cognitive problems.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is when a person stops breathing multiple times while sleeping because their airways have become blocked or obstructed, often by the back of the tongue. Someone who has sleep apnea can stop breathing as much as 80 to 120 times per hour, and they may frequently stop breathing for a dangerously long period of time. Every time your breathing stops, your heart rate and blood pressure will increase, and you will also experience dangerously low oxygen levels.

What Happens When Sleep Apnea Is Left Untreated?

When sleep apnea is left untreated, it can lead to short-term and long-term health issues that, in some cases, might potentially incapacitate affected individuals. People with untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may begin experiencing health issues like heart problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes at younger ages.

Most people who have untreated sleep apnea will develop heart disease, and it has long been assumed that is why they also experience cognitive problems. However, a new study has found that obstructive sleep apnea itself is responsible for harming the brain and causing mental issues, which lends a new urgency to the recognition and treatment of sleep apnea.

Cognitive Problems Caused by Untreated OSA

When obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is not treated, it causes short-term symptoms like excessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, reduced deep sleep, interrupted sleep, and cognitive problems. Cognitive problems commonly experienced by people who have untreated sleep apnea are:

  • poor short-term memory
  • memory loss
  • deficits in short-term visual recognition memory
  • difficulty concentrating
  • attention deficits
  • impulse control deficits
  • declining emotional and social recognition
  • early-onset dementia at younger ages

Sleep Apnea and Cognitive Decline in Men

A new study has shown that otherwise healthy middle-aged men who were recently diagnosed with sleep apnea showed more cognitive problems when compared to men without sleep apnea. Research published in Frontiers in Sleep showed that men with no underlying health conditions recently diagnosed with sleep apnea had poorer mental function in areas like judgment, recognizing other people’s feelings, and impulse control when compared to men without the condition.

Cognitive decline was experienced whether the men had mild, moderate, or severe sleep apnea, even when they had no underlying health concerns; however, cognitive decline in men with severe sleep apnea was significantly worse. This new study further emphasizes how important it is to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) early.

How Does Sleep Apnea Cause Cognitive Decline?

Each time obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) causes a person to stop breathing, there are adverse effects on their body and brain. Doctors and researchers have speculated that the cognitive difficulties experienced by people with sleep apnea could be due to the following adverse effects of sleep apnea:

  • changes in the flow of blood to the brain
  • fragmented sleep
  • high carbon dioxide levels in the blood
  • intermittent low, and often dangerously low, oxygen levels
  • neuroinflammation

Treatment Options for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Many treatment options are available for obstructive sleep apnea, and your doctor will work with you to find the best treatment option. Treatment plans for sleep apnea can include lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime, frequent and increased physical exercise, and weight loss when indicated. Other non-surgical options available for treating OSA include oropharyngeal exercises, positional therapy, oral appliances, nasal resistors, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

To effectively manage your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its associated symptoms, including OSA-related cognitive problems, compliance with your treatment plan is extremely important.

Oral Appliances Can Help You Be Compliant with Your Sleep Apnea Treatment Plan

If you have been diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, FDA-registered oral appliances are available as a treatment option. A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you based on several factors, such as mouth size and degree of snoring. These devices are both comfortable and minimally intrusive. Numerous individuals discover that oral appliances simplify adherence to sleep apnea treatment, thereby enabling effective management of cognitive issues and other symptoms associated with obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Specialists in Columbus, Ohio

The sleep apnea specialists at Sleep Better Columbus are committed to providing compassionate care for all patients and helping each patient find the best sleep apnea treatment for them. The sleep apnea treatment offered by Sleep Better Columbus provides a straightforward and cozy approach for quick relief to those suffering from sleep-disordered breathing. Their uniquely crafted mouthpieces serve as an efficient and comfortable alternative to CPAP masks, especially for individuals who find it challenging or prefer not to use CPAP masks.

Sleep apnea is a severe condition, and Dr. Levy can help. Book an appointment online or call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 777-7350.

What Does a Sleep Apnea Specialist Do?

When Should I See an Obstructive Sleep Apnea Specialist?

If sleep problems have persisted for over three months and affect your daily life, you should see a sleep apnea specialist. Sleep issues like snoring often, struggling to stay awake while at work or driving, waking up in the middle of the night, or experiencing excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness can indicate a potential sleep disorder.

Other signs of a potential sleep disorder include:

  • dozing off involuntarily
  • having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • having trouble with concentration or your memory
  • kicking your legs during sleep
  • unexplained headaches, especially in the morning
  • waking up short of breath, gasping, or choking

What Should I Expect When I See a Sleep Apnea Specialist?

When you see a sleep apnea specialist for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), be prepared to discuss the symptoms that led you to make an appointment, any other symptoms you might be experiencing, and any concerns about your sleep or sleep-related issues. The sleep apnea specialist will ask questions and talk with you about your medical history and any medications you are taking. They will also perform a physical exam.

What Type of Doctor Do I See for Sleep Apnea?

A sleep apnea specialist is a doctor who helps you with sleep-related issues and diagnoses and treats sleep disorders. Sleep apnea specialists often have different backgrounds but have received extra training in sleep medicine or dental sleep medicine.

Not all doctors specializing in sleep apnea provide the same treatments like CPAP or oral appliance therapy. Although CPAP therapy is effective for numerous patients, it’s not suitable for everyone. Some may discover that oral appliance therapy is a simpler, more convenient, and comfortable alternative. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine also approves it. Oral appliance therapy is provided at Sleep Better Columbus.

How Does a Sleep Apnea Specialist Diagnose Sleep Apnea?

A diagnostic sleep study, polysomnography, is typically used to diagnose obstructive sleep apnea. A sleep study will be done at an accredited sleep lab, and you will be monitored while you sleep. While you are sleeping, various body functions will be recorded. Body functions that are recorded include heart rate, muscle activity, brain electrical activity, eye movement, respiratory effort, airflow, and blood oxygen levels.

Other types of studies may be available depending on your symptoms and situation. Some patients can do an in-home sleep study that uses a device to measure blood oxygen saturation, breathing patterns, and airflow while you sleep.

Once a diagnosis of OSA has been made, you may be treated by your sleep apnea specialist only or referred to one or more specialists for treatment options and therapy that takes a multidisciplinary approach.

Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In cases of mild or moderate sleep apnea diagnosis, oral appliances registered with the FDA can be used for treatment. A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you based on a number of factors, such as mouth size and degree of snoring.

An oral appliance is generally used at night to help the patient’s tongue, jaw, and airway rest in their natural positions. These appliances are comfortable and relatively non-intrusive. Many people find oral appliances make compliance with their sleep apnea treatment easier. Oral appliance therapy offers a straightforward and efficient solution for treating obstructive sleep apnea and is also beneficial for complex sleep apnea syndrome.

Questions to Ask Your Sleep Apnea Specialist About an Oral Appliance to Treat OSA

  • What is the cost of oral appliance therapy?
  • Does medical or dental insurance cover oral appliance therapy?
  • How many visits will this require?
  • How many sleep tests will I need to take?
  • What kinds of problems should I be looking for?
  • How long does an oral appliance last?
  • Are there things I should avoid doing or eating while using an oral appliance?

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy for Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Oral appliance therapy gives people who cannot tolerate CPAP machines another option to treat their sleep apnea. Compared to CPAP machines, oral appliances are more comfortable and easier to use.

Dental oral appliances offer better treatment outcomes and can significantly improve sleep quality when used consistently. Oral appliances are non-intrusive and convenient, providing several advantages over traditional sleep apnea treatment options. Some of these benefits include:

  • doesn’t require electricity to work
  • easy to take care of and keep clean
  • improves symptoms of OSA like focus issues and daytime sleepiness
  • more cost-effective than other treatments
  • no loud noise
  • portable and more accessible to take when traveling
  • reduces or eliminates snoring

Finding a Sleep Apnea Specialist Near Me

Sleep apnea specialists work in private practices, sleep centers, and hospitals. Your primary care provider can give you a referral, or you can search for an accredited sleep center with sleep medicine organizations like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorder Disciplines, or Narcolepsy Network.

Once you’ve collected the names of some local sleep apnea specialists, ask family, friends, and coworkers if they have seen any sleep specialists before and can share feedback with you. You can also perform an internet search and visit the doctor’s website to learn more about them.

You can also search for your doctor on the internet to find out if they have a specialist interest in a particular aspect of sleep. Consider looking at comments from other patients as you decide who you want to see.

Columbus, Ohio OSA Specialist

In some instances, snoring is not just a bothersome or embarrassing habit, but it can also indicate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition linked to serious health issues. Sleep apnea is a severe condition, and Dr. Levy with Sleep Better Columbus can help.

Book an appointment online or call Sleep Better Columbus at (614) 777-7350.

Exploring Sleep Solutions: Oral Appliances vs. Inspire vs. CPAP Machines

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects many people, causing interruptions in their breathing during sleep and leading to a host of health issues. Dentists have become essential players in the treatment of sleep apnea, offering effective solutions to help patients achieve a restful night’s sleep. In this article, we will delve into the various sleep solutions provided by dentists, with a particular focus on oral appliances, while also comparing them to Inspire therapy and CPAP machines.

Oral Appliances for Sleep Apnea

Oral appliances, also known as mandibular advancement devices (MADs) or tongue retaining devices (TRDs), are custom-made dental devices that can significantly improve sleep apnea symptoms. These devices work by repositioning the lower jaw and tongue to keep the airway open during sleep.

Key advantages of oral appliances:

  • Comfort: Oral appliances are often more comfortable to wear than CPAP masks, as they do not require a mask or air pressure.
  • Portability: They are compact and easy to travel with, making them a convenient option for those on the go.
  • Non-invasive: Unlike surgical options like Inspire therapy, oral appliances do not require surgery, making them a less invasive choice.

Inspire Therapy for Sleep Apnea

Inspire therapy is an innovative surgical option for sleep apnea. It involves the implantation of a small device that stimulates the hypoglossal nerve to prevent airway blockage during sleep.

Key points about Inspire therapy:

  • Effectiveness: Inspire therapy has shown significant improvement in reducing sleep apnea events and improving sleep quality.
  • Surgical Procedure: It requires a surgical implantation, which may not be suitable for everyone.
  • Long-Term Commitment: Patients need to use the device consistently for optimal results. 

CPAP Machines for Sleep Apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines are the traditional treatment for sleep apnea. These machines deliver a constant stream of air pressure through a mask to keep the airway open.

Important considerations for CPAP machines:

  • Effectiveness: CPAP is highly effective in treating sleep apnea when used consistently.
  • Comfort: Some individuals find CPAP masks uncomfortable and may experience difficulty adjusting to them.
  • Maintenance: CPAP machines require regular cleaning and maintenance.

The Main Differences between Oral Appliances, Inspire and CPAP Machines

  • Effectiveness: All three options can be effective in treating sleep apnea. Oral appliances and Inspire therapy offer a more comfortable experience for many patients, while CPAP machines are highly effective when used consistently.
  • Comfort and Convenience: Oral appliances are generally considered the most comfortable and convenient option due to their ease of use and portability. Inspire therapy and CPAP machines may be less comfortable for some individuals.
  • Invasiveness: Oral appliances are non-invasive and do not require surgery. In contrast, Inspire therapy involves a surgical procedure, while CPAP machines are non-invasive but require wearing a mask.

In conclusion, when considering sleep solutions for sleep apnea, dentists offer a valuable option through oral appliances. These devices are comfortable, non-invasive, and highly effective for many patients. However, the choice between oral appliances, Inspire therapy, or CPAP machines should be based on individual preferences, needs, and the severity of the sleep apnea. Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as a sleep specialist or dentist, is crucial for making the right decision.

$479 Million Dollar Settlement Reached in CPAP Machine Case

Philips Respironics has reached an agreement to settle claims for $479 million related to its CPAP machines, which were found to release foam particles into users’ respiratory systems. This settlement pertains to the Philips Respironics OmniLab Advanced+ among other models recalled in 2021, as reported by Andrea Ellen Reed for The New York Times.

This agreement, part of ongoing class-action litigation, provides for monetary compensation for consumers and suppliers who provided replacements. The lawyers for the plaintiffs have stated that there is no cap on the monetary claims, allowing for additional claims.

The proposed settlement, awaiting judicial approval, does not concede to claims involving personal injury or healthcare costs arising from the use of these machines. Philips has not acknowledged any misconduct or liability in this deal.

The issue traces back to the recall of around five million Philips breathing machines in the U.S., designed to assist individuals with sleep apnea and similar conditions. Allegations have linked the foam used in the devices, intended for noise and vibration reduction, to serious health issues, including respiratory diseases, lung cancer, and deaths.

The FDA CPAP Recall Started in June 2021

The FDA’s recall in June 2021 included Philips BiPAP and ventilators produced since 2009, citing the foam’s deterioration could severely harm users. Initially, Philips warned medical professionals of the risk of toxic carcinogens from the foam. However, later updates indicated less severe concerns.

The plaintiffs’ lawyers have expressed confidence in their case against Philips, intending to hold the company responsible for the alleged physical harm caused to patients who used the devices for sleep apnea treatments.

Many individuals with sleep apnea, a condition known for causing interrupted breathing and associated health risks, have been impacted by these recalls. This has placed a strain on healthcare providers and patients, forcing them to choose between potential risks or discontinuing treatment, with limited alternatives available.

CPAP Case Settlement Terms

Under the terms announced, affected consumers could receive $50 to $1,500, plus $100 for returning the devices to Philips, which claims to have replaced approximately 2.5 million units.

Philips asserts that patient safety is paramount and assures confidence in the use of their Respironics devices.

The FDA, along with some specialists, have criticized Philips for delaying communication about the defects, which surfaced in company records as early as 2015, with over 105,000 injuries and 385 deaths potentially linked to the issue reported to the FDA.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice has been in discussions with Philips regarding a consent decree to address recall-related problems, as revealed in a July earnings report. Philips has been cooperative under a subpoena from April 2022, providing ongoing information about the recall events.

Sleep Apnea Increases Chance of Stroke by 60%

Studies conducted by experts in cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University have shown that people with sleep apnea are five times more likely to develop atrial fibrillation and have a 60% increased risk of sleep apnea related strokes. This connection between sleep apnea and stroke risk makes untreated OSA even more serious.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where someone stops breathing multiple times while sleeping because their airways have become blocked or obstructed, usually by the back of the tongue. This can occur as many as 80 to 120 times per hour, and often a person can stop breathing for a dangerously long period of time. Each time your breathing stops, your heart rate and blood pressure increase and dangerously low levels of oxygen are created in the body.

Health Complications of Untreated OSA

Untreated OSA creates short-term and long-term health issues that can degrade a person’s quality of life. In some cases, untreated obstructive sleep apnea may potentially incapacitate affected individuals. When OSA is left untreated, the short-term symptoms a person experiences can lead to chronic long-term issues.

People who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may begin to experience health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes at an earlier age. Additionally, if sleep apnea goes ignored, they may also experience cognitive problems like poor concentration and memory loss or early-onset dementia at younger ages than is typical.

A multitude of symptoms are associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Short-term effects experienced by people with untreated OSA include excessive daytime sleepiness, interrupted sleep, reduced deep sleep, poor sleep quality, fatigue, and lack of concentration.

When left untreated, OSA begins to impact overall health in ways that become long-term issues. Untreated sleep apnea can be a precursor to several chronic and/or debilitating health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and stroke, type 2 diabetes

The Connection Between Stroke Risk and Sleep Apnea

Researchers who have conducted sleep studies have discovered a connection between sleep apnea and stroke risk. If you experience more sleep problems, your risk for sleep apnea–related strokes increases. Factors that contribute to poor-quality sleep like restless sleep, snoring, snorting, nighttime awakenings, napping for a long time during the day, and sleeping too little or even too much all contribute to poor-quality sleep and can increase your risk of suffering a stroke.

Previous research has linked unhealthy, poor-quality sleep to blood vessel impairments and high blood pressure, which are risk factors for stroke. According to PhD researcher Dr. Christine McCarthy, a stroke and geriatric medicine physician with the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Galway in Ireland, an individual’s risk of stroke increases with the number of sleep issues they experience. For someone who has sleep apnea, experiencing more than five sleep apnea symptoms can lead to five times the risk of stroke in comparison to people who do not have sleep problems.

How Can I Reduce My Risk of Stroke?

Reducing the negative impact of sleep apnea and other sleep disorders will also reduce your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. Some of the main ways you can reduce the negative impact of sleep apnea are practicing good sleep hygiene, getting regular physical activity, and eating a healthy way.

Improving poor sleep hygiene can be challenging at times, but the benefits of decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and sleep apnea–related stroke are worth it. Poor sleep hygiene can be improved by getting a consistent amount of uninterrupted sleep each night. Your goal should be about seven or eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, which means you may need to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day of the week. Studies have shown that getting about seven hours of uninterrupted sleep per night is associated with the least amount of cardiovascular disease.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea has several signs and symptoms, but it’s easy to mistake many of the signs and symptoms as something else since they can be confusing. For example, many people with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) snore, but not everyone who snores has OSA.

Everyone with sleep apnea doesn’t experience every symptom or the same symptoms. Usually, sleep apnea symptoms are noticed by someone who sleeps in the same house as a person who suffers from sleep apnea. Depending on the severity of their sleep-disordered breathing, most patients present with at least a few of the following symptoms:

  • depression
  • difficulty concentrating
  • excessive daytime sleepiness
  • fatigue after a full night’s sleep
  • forgetfulness
  • frequent nighttime awakenings
  • frequent nighttime urination
  • headaches
  • increased anxiety
  • memory difficulties
  • mood swings
  • morning dry mouth
  • morning headaches
  • night sweats
  • restlessness during sleep
  • sexual dysfunction
  • snoring
  • waking up gasping for air or choking
  • waking up with a sore throat

Treating OSA to Improve Health and Reduce Risk

Treating OSA will reduce risk of stroke and other health conditions. Your treatment plan may include lifestyle changes such as increased and/or frequent physical activity, weight loss when indicated, and avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime. Nonsurgical treatment options that might be a part of your treatment plan include the use of oral appliances, nasal resistors, oropharyngeal exercises, positional therapy, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

To manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its symptoms effectively and improve your health, it’s extremely important that you are compliant with your sleep apnea treatment plan. Unfortunately, many people who try CPAP therapy may find compliance with their treatment challenging when they discover they struggle with using the machine or cannot tolerate the mask or the noise.

For patients diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, FDA-registered oral appliances can be used to treat their sleep apnea. A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you based on factors such as degree of snoring and mouth size. Oral appliances are an effective treatment option that can reduce your risk of sleep apnea related strokes, and many people find oral appliances to be comfortable and relatively nonintrusive.

Learn how you can sever the connection between sleep apnea and stroke risk in your life with effective treatment through Sleep Better Columbus. Call us at 614-777-7350 or contact us online.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Accelerates Aging

Research has shown a connection exists between sleep apnea and aging. When obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is left untreated and deprives someone of healthy sleep long-term, they age more quickly.

What Happens to Your Body with Untreated OSA?

Untreated OSA creates short-term and long-term health issues that can degrade a person’s quality of life. In some cases, untreated obstructive sleep apnea may potentially incapacitate affected individuals.

People who have untreated obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) may begin to experience health issues like high blood pressure, heart problems, and diabetes at an earlier age. Additionally, if sleep apnea goes ignored, they may also experience cognitive problems like poor concentration and memory loss or early-onset dementia at younger ages than is typical.

Short-Term Effects of OSA

A multitude of symptoms are associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Short-term effects experienced by people with untreated OSA include excessive daytime sleepiness, headaches, interrupted sleep, reduced deep sleep, poor sleep quality, fatigue, and lack of concentration.

If obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is left untreated, short-term symptoms can lead to chronic long-term issues.

Long-Term Effects of OSA

When left untreated, OSA begins to impact overall health in ways that become long-term issues. Untreated sleep apnea can be a precursor to several chronic and/or debilitating health conditions such as:

  • Adult asthma: sleep apnea can increase your risk of asthma complications and worsen your symptoms.
  • Heart problems: OSA has been linked to cardiovascular disease, irregular heart rhythm, heart failure, and stroke.
  • High blood pressure (hypertension): sleep apnea can increase your risk for high blood pressure overall and your chance of developing it at a younger age.
  • High blood sugar: sleep apnea increases the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes, and if you already have Type 2 diabetes, loss of sleep from sleep apnea can make it worse.
  • Liver problems: sleep apnea has been linked to higher-than-average liver enzymes and fatty liver disease.
  • Low blood oxygen levels: over time, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can deprive your body of essential oxygen, which can affect the health of your body tissue and organ tissue.
  • Mental health issues: untreated sleep apnea can lead to anxiety and depression or worsen these conditions if you already have them; it can also cause mental confusion, poor concentration, memory loss, dementia, and other cognitive challenges.
  • Weakened immune system: deprivation of sleep and poor sleep quality from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can weaken your immune system and leave you more susceptible to infections and illnesses as well as extend the amount of time it takes to heal.

A timely diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and the appropriate treatment of sleep apnea may help manage these chronic conditions as well as other conditions that have been connected to sleep apnea like chronic insomnia, sexual dysfunction, metabolic syndrome, vision impairment, and chronic kidney disease.

How Sleep Apnea Affects Aging

When obstructive sleep apnea is left untreated, it also accelerates your biological aging process. Biological aging is the cell breakdown process that eventually leads to muscle weakness, issues with cognitive functions, and other health problems common in older age.

Sleep apnea may also accelerate the aging process. Consistent and chronic deprivation of sleep will begin to deteriorate your body the same way that aging does.

Sleep Apnea Treatment Can Slow Premature Aging

While sleep apnea can affect aging in negative ways, consistently following an appropriate treatment plan can slow premature aging or potentially reverse the trend created by untreated sleep apnea.

When patients are compliant with OSA treatments, the sleep apnea treatments will restore good nighttime oxygenation and minimize the number of their sleep disruptions, which, in turn, will promote sleep that is restful and of good quality.

OSA Treatment That Works for You

There are several treatment options for OSA, and you and your doctor will work together to find the best treatment that works for you. Treatment plans may include lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime, frequent and/or increased physical exercise, and weight loss when indicated. Other nonsurgical treatment options include oropharyngeal exercises, positional therapy, the use of oral appliances, nasal resistors, and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

Compliance with your sleep apnea treatment plan is important to effectively manage obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and its associated symptoms. However, many people who try CPAP therapy may have difficulties being compliant since they struggle with using the machine, cannot tolerate the mask or the noise, or have issues with the inconvenience of traveling with a CPAP machine.

If you have been diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, FDA-registered oral appliances are available as a treatment option. A qualified dentist trained in dental sleep medicine will choose the right oral appliance for you based on a number of factors such as mouth size and degree of snoring. These appliances are comfortable and relatively non-intrusive. Many people find they make it easier to be compliant with their sleep apnea treatment so they can begin effectively treating symptoms attributed to the link between sleep apnea and aging.

Contact Sleep Better Columbus today either online or by calling 614-777-7350 to find out if you’re a candidate for oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea and put a stop to premature aging.

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