Commonly Asked Questions
What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the soft tissue in a person’s throat repeatedly collapses and blocks the airway during sleep. These partial reductions and complete pauses in breathing typically last between 10 and 30 seconds, but can persist for one minute or longer. These pauses can happen hundreds of times a night, leading to abrupt reductions and abrupt oxygen levels. The brain alerts the body to it’s lack of oxygen, causing a brief arousal from sleep that restores normal breathing.
The result is a fragmented quality of sleep that often leads to excessive daytime sleepiness. Most people with OSA snore loudly and frequently, with periods of silence when airflow is reduced or blocked. They then make choking, snorting or gasping sounds when their airway reopens.
How does Oral Appliance Therapy work?
Custom made oral appliance reposition the tongue and lower jaw forward during sleep to maintain an open airway. Dentists trained in dental sleep medicine know how to select, fabricate, fit and adjust these devices. These devices look like mouth guards, to help patients breath freely during sleep. Follow-up visits post-adjustment sleep studies help dentists determine if oral appliance therapy is effectively treating their patients’ sleep apnea. Dentists are not permitted to diagnose sleep apnea. Diagnosis should be done at an accredited sleep center, which Dr. Hooper will refer you to.
What type of appliance is used?
There are many appliances that can be used, all work by the same mechanism, by pulling the mandible forward. The difference is how they accomplish this. Dr. Hooper will perform a thorough exam on you and based on it and patient input will decide which appliance to use. Patient input is very important to the success of treatment. Dr. Hooper uses different appliances according to patients needs and desires.
Here are some of the appliances:
- The Somnodent from Somnomed:
- A Herpts appliance : Great Lakes Ortho
- The TAP appliance:
- The Moses Sleep Apnea Appliance