Dental Sleep Medicine

Is your snoring ruining your family’s sleep? Do you feel excessively fatigued even after a full night’s sleep? Do you grind your teeth or have problems with acid reflux? Are you looking for an alternative to bulky CPAP machines? Carolinas Dental Sleep Center specializes in Dental Sleep Medicine and the treatment of sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, with oral appliances.

AADSMLogoDental Sleep Medicine is defined by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine as “an area of dental practice that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep disordered breathing including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)”. These oral appliances are custom fitted to each individual and worn nightly like a retainer.

AASMLogoAccording to a 2015 guideline update by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option when compared to no treatment. Some of their specific recommendations include:

  1. That sleep physicians prescribe oral appliances, rather than no therapy, for adult patients who request treatment of primary snoring (without obstructive sleep apnea).
  2. When oral appliance therapy is prescribed by a sleep physician for an adult patient with obstructive sleep apnea, we suggest that a qualified dentist use a custom, titratable appliance over non-custom oral devices.
  3. We recommend that sleep physicians consider prescription of oral appliances, rather than no treatment, for adult patients with obstructive sleep apnea who are intolerant of CPAP therapy or prefer alternate therapy.

For patients with SEVERE sleep apnea, CPAP is still the standard of care, but should the patient be intolerant to CPAP, oral appliance therapy is considered an effective second-line alternative.

What is CPAP?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, or CPAP, is the traditional treatment of choice for patients with OSA. The device works by actively pushing air through the airway, essentially “propping” the airway open to prevent pauses in breathing (apnea) and drops in oxygen (hypopnea). Alternatively, the Mandibular Advancement Device used in Dental Sleep Medicine does this by bringing the lower jaw forward and maintaining this position during sleep. This forward position opens up the airway preventing snoring, apnea, and hypopnea.

mandibular adjustment device

If you have problems sleeping due to snoring or you know you have OSA and are looking for an alternative to CPAP, contact one of our team members to see how we may be able to help!