When it comes to caring for teeth and gums, Valparaiso residents turn to dentists for guidance, but many don’t know that a trip to the right dental office can also help improve their sleep.
“For people losing shut-eye to snoring and sleep apnea, studies show an oral appliance that is custom fit by a dentist may be all they need,” said Dr. Michael J. Uzelac, a Valparaiso dentist and member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). “Oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to the traditionally prescribed CPAP machine and mask with a much higher compliance rate among patients.”
Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy to treat obstructive sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that causes people to stop breathing from a few seconds to more than a minute at a time. These breathing pauses are repeated throughout the night, commonly causing loud, frequent snoring. To prevent these pauses, mouth-guard like oral appliance devices keep the airway from collapsing by either holding the tongue or supporting the jaw in a forward position. If left untreated, sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening condition that can increase the risk for a number of serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
Of the 12-18 million Americans suffering from sleep apnea, 80 to 90 percent remain undiagnosed and untreated, according to the AADSM. Dr. Uzelac encourages snorers and sleep apnea sufferers to take these steps to start sleeping more soundly:
- Consult a sleep physician – Wondering if sleep apnea is causing daytime sleepiness? Now is the time to schedule an appointment with a board-certified sleep physician to receive a sleep test. Once diagnosed, work with your doctor to research available treatments and determine the best options.
- Find a local dentist – Dr. Uzelac works in conjunction with sleep physicians to treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. Patients often prefer oral appliance therapy because it is more comfortable than CPAP, easy to wear, quiet, portable and easy to care for. Visit https://www.sleepairwaysolutions.com/ to schedule an oral appliance therapy consultation.
- Stick to the treatment plan – Only by using their oral appliance will patients reap the health benefits. Remember – wear the oral appliance every night in order to wake up feeling refreshed. Compared to CPAP, an oral appliance is easier to travel with, so don’t leave it at home when on the road.
- Schedule check-ups – Effective oral appliances are always custom fit by a dentist and may need adjustments over time to ensure maximum effectiveness. Be sure to visit the dentist on a regular basis to have an oral appliance checked and refitted as necessary.
More about Oral Appliance Therapy
AADSM recommends oral appliance therapy for people with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or those who can’t comply with CPAP. There are more than 80 different styles of oral appliance devices that have received FDA clearance, and oral appliance therapy is often covered by medical insurance.
About Dr. Uzelac
Dr. Uzelac is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Michael J. Uzelac has been providing professional general & sleep dentistry care to Valparaiso, IN since 1982. Dr. Uzelac is a Diplomate of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
Sleep Airway Solutions is located at 850 Marsh St., Suite A Valparaiso, IN 46385. Patients with loud snoring and diagnosed sleep apnea sufferers with difficulty tolerating CPAP should contact Dr. Uzelac at (219) 286-6461to schedule a consultation appointment. Dr. Uzelac works closely with sleep physicians to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea