Did you know recent data show that up to 1 in 5 Americans have some form of sleep apnea? Unfortunately, most people with sleep apnea are undiagnosed which means they’re not aware they have a potentially life-damaging problem. Some of the symptoms include loud snoring, grinding or clenching of the teeth while sleeping, high blood pressure, sleep deprivation, inability to concentrate, waking up in the night while gasping for air, and chronic fatigue. Battling obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can cause the immune system to be suppressed, making it more difficult to stay healthy.
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is physically blocked. This prevents adequate breathing during sleep, affects the body’s natural healing processes, and increases inflammation. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea is associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, restless sleep, and obesity. For many people, getting diagnosed and treated for obstructive sleep apnea also improves other health problems.
We take a unique approach to treating sleep apnea. We know that traditional treatments, like a CPAP machine, can be cumbersome and difficult to manage which is why at Sloan Creek Dental, we use either the NightLase laser airway therapy or we use a dental oral appliance to treat sleep apnea. The benefits of either using either the NightLase laser airway therapy or the dental oral appliance is that they are both non-invasive and does not require surgery. Perfect for the patient looking for a holistic approach to treat sleep apnea and get a better night’s sleep.
Sloan Creek Dental offers NightLase laser airway therapy for patients who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and cannot tolerate the use of a CPAP. The procedure is a short 20-minute treatment where Dr. Feng uses the Fotona Lightwalker laser tighten tissues at the back of the throat which reduces airway obstruction and allows you to sleep better and feel better. The tightening of airway tissues means NightLase is also a non-invasive and effective treatment option to reduce snoring. Once the treatment is complete, you can return to your daily schedule with no downtime or recovery needed.
The best part about NightLase therapy is that it’s virtually pain-free and lasts for up to a year. With NightLase, you won’t need to wear a device in your mouth throughout the night to get the benefits of a good night’s rest. Although it is recommended to complete 3 sessions of NightLase over the course of 6 weeks, many patients start to feel better after just one treatment!
Another treatment option for obstructive sleep apnea is the use of a mouthpiece called an oral appliance while you sleep. Some of the benefits of a oral appliance compared to a CPAP breathing mask includes:
– More comfortable and tolerable compared to CPAP breathing masks
– Allows a much more relaxed sleep and allows for normal breathing
– Helps to reduce or stop snoring
– Safe and virtually pain-free
Unlike NightLase which tightens your throat tissues, an oral appliance helps open up your airway by adjusting the position of your jaw. Lying on your back while sleeping closes the airway because gravity pushes your tongue and jaw towards the back of the throat. The oral appliance prevents your jaw and sometimes even your tongue from moving backwards as you sleep. By wearing it every night, the bones in the face remodel themselves overtime to correct issues with airway obstruction, TMJ, and alignment.
There are many types of OSA appliances available today. If an OSA appliance is for you, we will do a thorough evaluation to determine if and -which type of appliance would work best for you.
Throughout your treatment and diagnosis, Dr. Feng and the rest of the Sloan Creek Dental team will be available to answer your questions, work through any issues, and help you adjust while you take your first step in treating sleep apnea. We’re committed to delivering the best possible treatment for your snoring or sleep apnea.