Sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s airflow is blocked or obstructed during sleep. Snoring is a common indicator of sleep apnea, though some snoring is normal. At Klooster Family Dentistry, we are excited to announce that Dr. Klooster passed his board exam with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine in the winter of 2018. This makes Dr. Klooster one of only a handful of dentists in North Carolina with accreditation to treat this serious problem. So let’s dig in to what sleep apnea does and how we can help you treat it.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
Essentially a period of time in which you stop breathing while you are asleep, sleep apnea is no joke. Its effects can include serious conditions like nocturnal heart attacks, increased blood pressure, Type II diabetes, weight gain, and even memory loss. Even worse, it is estimated that roughly 70% of people in the United States who have sleep apnea are currently undiagnosed.
By having bouts of not breathing, your brain’s oxygen level can be depleted. Your sleep is disrupted, leaving you sleepy during the day, and between 12 to 15 years of your life can be lost due to the devastating health effects of sleep apnea. We all know how bad smoking is for our health, but it is estimated that smoking only takes 7-10 years off of your life!
How We Treat the Problem
A common treatment for sleep apnea is the use of a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine that keeps your airway open all night by gently blowing air into your nose while you sleep. Unfortunately, this solution has the downside of being clunky, somewhat uncomfortable, and coming with many compliance issues. It limits your range of motion while you sleep, and up to 40% of people abandon this treatment within the first six months.
At Klooster Family Dentistry, we are able to provide a dental solution to the problem. Our dental sleep therapy services include the use of Oral Sleep Appliances (OSAs) and Morning Re-Positioners.
The OSA is much like a retainer and is designed to adjust your jaw placement to keep your airway open while you sleep. The Morning Re-Positioner is a device you wear in the morning for 15-30 minutes in order to restore your jaw to its usual resting position. Easier to wear than a CPAP machine, and far less restrictive, this option is available after a sleep study confirms your sleep apnea and eligibility for sleep therapy.
To check your insurance benefits for sleep therapy and to go over solutions for your sleep apnea, contact our office today.