Sleep Apnea Appliances
in Bentonville, AR

Many people don’t sleep well. There are several potential culprits, but one can be sleep apnea. An estimated 22 million people in America have moderate to severe sleep apnea. 75-80% are unidentified or undiagnosed. Diagnosis is obtained by a sleep physician and involves an overnight, sometimes take-home, sleep study. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA, is a term to describe when the tongue and tissues of the throat and soft palate collapse into the airway during sleep, restricting or stopping airflow. The common symptom of snoring can itself be disruptive to the sufferer and the rest of the household!

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sleep apnea

What Are The Risks of Untreated Sleep Apnea?

Besides fatigue, sleepiness, grouchiness, trouble focusing, and a suppressed immune system from poor sleep, there can be more serious health consequences of untreated sleep apnea. The intermittent suffocation of sleep apnea triggers the body’s fight-or-flight mechanism countless times during the night, releasing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol into the bloodstream. Over time, the strain on organs and body systems can lead to a 140% increased risk of heart failure, 60% increased risk of stroke, and 30% increased risk of coronary artery disease. Up to 83% of Type 2 diabetics suffer from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Not only is sleep apnea worsened by excess body weight, but it can make it difficult to keep weight off. It is frequently associated with high blood pressure and often coexists with anxiety and depression.

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How Do Dentists Help With Sleep Apnea?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is the gold standard for treating moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea. CPAP machines work very well and have literally been a lifesaver for many patients, but comfort and compliance have been less than perfect for others. In fact, 8% of patients stop using the CPAP machine after the first night, and 50% stop within the first year. Fortunately, for mild to moderate cases, oral appliances made by a dentist exhibit better comfort and compliance and have therefore been found to be as effective as CPAP. These custom mouthpieces snap onto the teeth and minimize airway collapse during deep sleep—no machinery or hoses required! That can certainly make it easier to pack for an overnighter.

Dr. Evans is a Qualified Dentist with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and can screen you for signs and symptoms of sleep apnea and point you in the right direction for diagnosis and treatment. You might even be a candidate for a custom-made oral appliance to help you start getting a good night’s sleep.

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