Obstructive Sleep Apnea

We're concerned about the overall health of our patients, including their sleep health.  Many people suffer needlessly from dangerous disruptive sleep disorders that keep them from getting enough oxygen at night.  The risk of a heart attack is 23 times more likely when you have a sleep disorder, and 92% of stroke victims live unknowingly with this condition before having a stroke.  Our training allows us to offer you education and treatment surrounding sleep health in the simplest and most cost-effective way possible.  

Estimates suggest that more than twelve million Americans have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).  Most cases are undiagnosed and contribute to chronic health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and traffic accidents due to drowsy driving.  Dentistry serves a vital role in treating this silent epidemic.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as a primary therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and for patients with severe sleep apnea who can't tolerate CPAP treatment.

What is OSA?

OSA is a breathing disorder characterized by brief interruptions of breathing during sleep due to a blockage in the airway.  Obstructions occur when throat muscles, the tongue, tonsils, or the soft palate relax and cover the airway, preventing breathing.  The obstruction results in a severe drop in blood oxygen levels throughout the night.  

OSA is typically diagnosed using a polysomnogram (a sleep study).  While most sleep studies are completed at home (with a take-home monitor), sometimes a test at the sleep lab may be necessary.  During a clinical sleep study, a physician and/or sleep technician monitors brain activity and body system functions while a patient rests overnight at a sleep lab.  The specialist evaluates the data collected to diagnose sleep disorders and recommends treatment from that data.  If oral appliance therapy is prescribed, or if you simply cannot tolerate a CPAP machine, Dr. Raman will work with your sleep specialist to design a comfortable oral appliance for you to wear.

How Is OSA Treated?

Treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may involve surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy.  Oral appliances provide the least invasive option and often a good choice for mild to moderate OSA.  A carefully calibrated oral appliance can comfortably help hold the jaw in a precise position throughout the night.  

All treatment recommendations should be made in conjunction with your sleep physician.  If appliance therapy is selected, it's essential the right method and positioning are designed to precisely maintain an open airway.