I‘d like to respond to some questions stemming from my blog from 2 weeks ago when I touched on Sleep Apnea and the dental appliance that can offer many the quickest easiest, least obtrusive and least expensive solution.
Although Sleep Apnea and sleep disorders were rarely talked about until back in the 70’s, the references to the problems associated with it are well documented for many years.
Dickens wrote about the affects in the Pickwick Papers in the 1820’s.
There are billboards selling laser surgery to fix the problem.
There are CPAP machines that are very effective, IF you can wear the mask and are OK with estranging yourself from your loved one through the night and are willing to lug it around with you.
Many sleep disorder associations consider the dental appliance a great first option for several reasons:
They are much less invasive
They are much more conservative
They are more comfortable
How does it work?
Much the same as when we are doing CPR, we tilt the head back and lift the jaw forward opening the airway. The device is like 2 mouth guards that can use the upper to pull the lower and the jaw forward to open the airway.
What are the signs of Sleep Apnea?
Obesity, snoring fatigue, waking at night and just being a male is a 4 times risk factor. Many people that need to take sleep meds, can’t sleep enough and are ‘light’ sleepers are all big risk factors.
Is it painful?
Isn’t that the standard question for anything you would have a dentist do?
OK, I just answered a question with a question.
Just like everything in our office, THERE IS NO PAIN! Painless dental care.
In many cases there is an adjustment period when we work on getting the jaw repositioned the appropriate amount.
This could take a couple weeks, or so, in which the muscles in the face (which are frequently stressed in our sleep apnea patients) need to relax into the position necessary for and patent airway and sound sleeping.
Does my insurance pay for it?
OK, even in my Bryn Mawr dental office this is one of the other most FAQ’s.
Usually medical insurances will cover the expenses for the device.
How big of a problem is this really?
Remember Reggie White?
Aside from the extreme, fatal downside of sleep apnea I was touched by this story I heard by the dentist giving me my training.
When he first started treating people for apnea he really didn’t have to look far. His house sounded like the engine room of a ocean liner. His father always snored loudly.
He carefully fitted his father for a device and actually slept over at his parents house that first night.
He snuck up to his parents’ bedroom in the middle of the night and was surprised by what he saw.
His MOTHER was sitting up in bed wide-eyed awake.
When he asked her what was wrong she replied that she couldn’t sleep because it was too quiet!!!
But that wasn’t the amazing part of the story by any means…
The incredible part of the story comes from the transformation he saw in his father.
Not only was his father well rested and not falling asleep through the day, but his father was, for the first time, a nice person.
It completely changed his personality!!!
Sound too good to be true? Maybe it is?
It’s not a panacea and like many medical procedures it might not work for everyone. You need to try it to see if you are one of the vast majority that choose this as their best option for their condition.
I strongly recommend you visit a local dentist or call us at 610-525-5497 if this is an issue for you or someone you know.
2013 just keeps getting better!!!