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14 Feb 2020

What Causes Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a very common disorder where breathing is interrupted and is present in 20 percent of the US population (estimated 18-20 million people).

The most common sleep apnea symptoms are loud snoring, restless sleep, morning headaches, waking up with dry mouth, mood changes, insomnia, irritability and lack of energy during daytime.  This is caused by the soft tissue and the tongue in the back of the mouth collapse, blocking your airway. The frequent pauses while breathing can decrease oxygen levels in the bloodstream and increase heart rate.

A person with sleep apnea may gasp or choke during sleep as the body frantically signals the brain to ramp up breathing efforts. At Apollo Dental in Ballantyne, we start with a consultation and help you with a sleep study to officially diagnose the problem. There are both in-lab and home sleep tests.


Types of Sleep Study

A home sleep study measures oxygen saturation, heart rate, airflow, movement in your chest and abdomen and it will also record time spent snoring and your sleep position.

In-lab sleep study does all included in home sleep study and also evaluates the brain waves, sleep time, and leg movements (an indicator of restless leg syndrome).  A home sleep study is much cheaper and is a great screening tool for sleep apnea.


Dangers of Sleep Apnea

One of the most frightening things about the condition is that many people who suffer from sleep apnea are completely unaware they have it. They may be experiencing the effects of sleep apnea in their daily lives but are not able to connect those symptoms with the underlying condition.

It increases your risk of sudden cardiac death, diabetes mellitus, heart failure, irregular heartbeat and stroke. In many cases, it takes a loved one to notice what happens in their sleep before they realize something may be wrong. Please also refer to study from Johns Hopkins Medicine on sleep apnea.


Diagnosis and Severity of Sleep Apnea

At Apollo Dental, Dr. Ishita Seth works closely with sleep labs and will provide you a machine to wear in the comfort of your own bed. The data received will be interpreted by a Medical Physician to keep a track of snoring, breathing, sleep oxygen levels and sleep apnea incidents.

Obstructive sleep apnea can range from mild to severe, based on a measurement system called the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI). The AHI measures the number of breathing pauses that you experience per hour that you sleep.

  • Mild obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 5 and 15
  • Moderate obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is between 15 and 30
  • Severe obstructive sleep apnea means that your AHI is greater than 30 (more than 30 episodes per hour)

Based on the recommendations a number of oral dental appliances can be used to alleviate the condition. The goal of the oral dental devices is to separate the jaws and push them forward slightly.


Types of Oral Devices

sleep apnea mouthpiece

dental mouthpiece for sleep apnea

mouthpiece to stop sleep apnea

oral mouthpiece for sleep apnea

There are several devices available for treatment of Mild to Moderate OSA. There are also day and night time appliances to help improve airway and nasal obstruction. They are different design options which allow concerns for narrow arches, anterior crowding, strength and overall appliance volume/comfort. These appliances have been FDA approved treatment for sleep apnea, snoring, sleep bruxism and tension/migraine headaches.

At Apollo Dental, based on the patient’s anatomy, Dr. Ishita Seth can design 3D appliances to reposition the mandible to achieve neuromuscular balance and an optional condylar-fossa relationship.


The two common categories of dental devices include

Mandibular (lower jaw) advancing devices (Mandibular Repositioning Device)

Mandibular advancement devices fit into the mouth by snapping over the upper and lower dental arches and have metal hinges connecting the two pieces: one fits over the upper teeth, and the other fits over the lower teeth.

The mandibular advancement devices work by pushing the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward, which helps prevent soft tissue from collapsing back into the airways. At Apollo Dental, Dr. Ishita Seth can have adjustable mandibular advancement devices to help fine tune the position for most effectiveness.

Tongue Retaining Devices

The tongue retaining devices have a small compartment that fits around the tongue using suction to keep it held forward to prevent collapse back into the airway. The tongue retaining devices are used in patients who cannot adequately have their jaw repositioned forward.


Benefits of Oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea

An oral appliance helps reposition the soft tissue of the mouth and the lower jawbone, helping to prevent oral structures from blocking air passages once they become relaxed during sleep.

Benefits include —

  • Custom design for precise and comfortable fit. It allows concern for narrow arches, anterior crowding, strength and overall appliance volume/comfort.
  • It helps patients with primary snoring (in absence of sleep apnea).
  • Effective for people who travel a lot and do not desire to carry bulky Positive Airway Pressure devices.
  • It can also be used in conjunction with Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) therapy especially when very high PAP pressures are needed to be effective.
  • Increased likelihood for improved compliance and reduce health risks.
  • It is more cost effective than most CPAP devices.

At Apollo Dental, Dr. Ishita Seth offers a variety of advanced types of oral appliances that can help patients suffering from mild-to-severe sleep apnea. The type of oral dental appliance that is best for you will ultimately depend on your unique needs.

Dr. Ishita Seth customizes oral appliances to provide outcomes that help reduce the risk of sleep apnea and provide a more comfortable, well rested, uninterrupted night’s sleep.


Custom versus Over the counter appliances:

Many over the counter appliances do not custom fit, cause pain, discomfort, persistent snoring due to the appliance falling out at night. Most over the counter appliances do not have the ability to be adjusted in incremental levels to “advance the jaw”, have reduced compliance and shorter life span. These over-the-counter appliances are based on the philosophy, “one size fits all” and ends up causing more complications.


Why Chose Dr. Ishita Seth?

Dr. Ishita Seth has undergone mini-residency training with the experts from the UNC – Dental School, Chapel Hill and works in collaboration with medical doctors to make sure the “root” cause or primary reason is corrected appropriately. 

Apollo Dental in Ballantyne can provide a solution to your Sleep Apnea. We know that snoring can be distressful and can cause long term medical and dental complications, so we will make sure to provide you with the industry’s leading solutions.

Contact us at 704-230-0502 to find out why we are the best dental office that you can trust in the Ballantyne Charlotte area. Book an appointment now and we will take care of your whole family’s dental needs.

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