Dr. Trotter explains that obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Patients with sleep apnea undergo testing to determine their level of sleep apnea and what type of treatment (CPAP machine or a custom dental device) will be best. Early detection can greatly improve the patient's quality of life.View transcript
So sleep apnea is basically when your airway gets obstructed during sleep, and there's mild, moderate, or severe apnea. So some patients may not need any treatment for it, and some people might benefit from some type of nighttime appliance, whether that be a CPAP machine or a dental device that we can custom-make for you. So what we do is we have a test that you can take home with you for one night, and it monitors your sleep. And then, that test gets analyzed by the lab, and then they help us determine if you have it and what level you have it at. And then from there, we can work with the doctors to determine what type of appliance would be best for you. But the thing about sleep apnea is that it's best detected early. And it can make a profound impact on somebody's quality of life if you diagnose it, and you treat it properly. And left untreated, it can lead to all sorts of other health issues. A lot of people are tired throughout the day, because they're not getting restful sleep, and they don't know why. And a simple test can kind of determine if apnea is the cause. So if you don't get restful sleep or if your airway is obstructed during sleep, it can have a lot of effects on your overall health. Obesity, hypertension, diabetes, all of these things can have a high correlation and a high incidence of apnea. And I think one of the misconceptions about apnea is that you can tell if somebody has apnea by looking at them. And to my surprise, a lot of our patients who have apnea look, you know, just like everybody else, and you would never know. I have a mild apnea myself, and I never would have guessed it, but I took the test. And now I know I have a mild version of it. So, if you're diagnosed with sleep apnea, then we would work with your physician to determine what type of appliance, if any, would be necessary for you, and then work with you and your physician to make that appliance. And if it turns out that you have severe apnea, then we would discuss that with your doctor, and they would probably get you tested for a CPAP machine. But a lot of the appliances that patients need can be made by your dentist, so we can do that for you here.