Sleep Apnea (Obstructive)

Important Key Points

  • It is very important to know that sleep-related breathing disorders can comprise a variety of diagnoses, from snoring, upper airway resistance syndrome, central sleep apnea, hypopnea, and even obstructive sleep apnea better known as (OSA). OSA is the top prevalent form of sleep apnea, to date it accounts for over 80% of sleep-disordered breathing cases in the U.S alone.
  • OSA occurs with recurrent narrowing or collapse of the upper airway during sleep. This results in partial or complete cessation of airflow despite the continued respiratory effort. There are multiple risk factors associated with OSA from oral or craniofacial abnormalities (e.g., large tongue or tonsils, retrognathia), to anthropometric features (e.g., obesity), male gender and advanced age. OSA also comes with several health consequences, ranging from excessive daytime sleepiness and often times impaired cognitive function to chronic hypertension, coronary heart failure, neurocognitive dysfunction and even ischemic stroke.
  • OSA is a common sleep disorder and should never be left untreated. Surprisingly, OSA is also often underdiagnosed, and the risk factors and predisposing symptoms of OSA can be identified in various clinical settings, including dental practice. See your local dentist today!

Treatment Options

  • As of today their are various treatment options available for patients with OSA, which includes the use of positive airway pressure (PAP) therapy. Oral appliance therapy is also a often recommended modality for patients with mild to moderate OSA (or even people with severe apnea who may not be able to tolerate the use of PAP).
  • Dentists work collaboratively and with great effort with primary care physicians and sleep specialists, dentist have become a part of a multidisciplinary care team, dentist are able to assist in providing very optimal long-term care for patients with OSA, to include periodic dental and periodontal assessment, fabrication and maintenance of properly fitted oral appliances that has been proved to be found safe over time.

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