Part 1: Trouble Sleeping? Sleep Apnea: First Line of Defense

Part 1 of a 3 part series written by Dr. Meadows. Originally featured in the 2019 Summer Newsletter.

As increasing number of our patients have questions regarding sleep apnea. Recently we attended a seminar where the medical community is looking for dentists to act as the first line of deference in prevention of sleep apnea.

What is it? Oxygen Deprivation

Physiologic Sleep Apnea

  • Must have sleep study
  • Diagnosis made by physician
  • Necessitates use of CPAP
  • If cannula CPAP used may still use oral appliance

Obstruction Sleep Apnea

  • Cause may be found be dentists
  • Treatment by dental appliance
  • Possibly paid by insurance

If affects our patients with side affects, such as:

  • Snoring
  • Dy mouth
  • Poor sleep
  • Relationship issues when spouses move out of the bedroom
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Atrial Fibrillation
  • Acid reflux
  • ADHD in kids
  • Hypertension

All serious health concerns!

To address these issues , our office begun utilizing an Epworth Sleep Apnea questionnaire. We initially have walked many of you through the need for bite guards, for clenching alone, as an initial line of defense. Some of you may need the next step as well, obstructive sleep apnea dental services. Some of our patients jump past the initial line and directly need a sleep apnea device to start with. We can help.

Confirmed last month, during a family members surgery, I learned that the medical community expects dentists to evaluate for sleep apnea because we are the ones who would be making the appliances to prevent most cases. If you are to need any type of surgery, the medical community needs to know if you have ANY level of sleep apnea, before surgery to avoid complications with intubation.

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