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Sleep Apnea


It’s Time To Wake Up!


Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a life-threatening sleep disorder that negatively impacts the health and quality of life of millions of Americans.


Symptoms include:

Snoring* Lack of Concentration* Daytime Fatigue* Morning Headaches* Obesity* High Blood Pressure* Large Neck Size* Interrupted Sleep* Sexual Dysfunction* Depression


Ask if you experience any of these symptoms or are concerned about your sleep and would like more information.


Call us today to schedule your FREE sleep apnea screening and receive more information on Watch-PAT and Oral Appliance Therapy


Fox Valley Dental offers Watch-PAT, an easy to use  Sleep Apnea testing device that can be done in the comfort of your own home.





Treatment of Sleep Apnea and Snoring through the use of Oral Appliances

Dr. Robert Hering, a member of The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, works with referring physicians to evaluate and treat sleep disordered breathing, such as snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, with the use of oral appliances.

Why do people snore?
Snoring occurs because a narrowing of the airway causes an increase in the speed air travels through the airway and this causes vibration of the soft palate and uvula which creates the snoring sound. Factors that affect snoring are larger soft tissue in the airway, increased resistance in the airway and an increase in the relaxation of these soft tissues.

What are the consequences of untreated snoring?
Disrupted sleep of the affected individual and bed partner can occur. This can lead to daytime fatigue, drowsiness and marital discord.

What are some factors that affect snoring?

Sleeping on your back
Nasal obstruction
Enlarged soft tissues in the throat

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a condition where the soft tissues in the throat completely close off the airway so that air cannot flow to the lungs. This can lead to a decrease in oxygen in the blood which the brain senses and alerts the muscles of the airway to tighten up and unblock the airway. As the breathing process begins again, a disruption of sleep occurs that can lead to a decrease in the body reaching the deep stages of sleep. This sleep disruption causes daytime sleepiness and fatigue that can have serious consequences on an individual's quality of life.

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea diagnosed?

An overnight sleep study called a polysomnogram (PSG) is used to confirm a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea. A PSG measures many body functions during sleep: sleep position, sleep stages, blood oxygen saturation, heart rate, snoring, apneas (decreased airflow by 80% and an arousal from sleep) and hypopneas (decrease airflow by 30% and an arousal from sleep). Patients are then given a diagnosis based on the number of arousals per hour of apneas and hypopneas= AHI, the Apnea-Hypopnea Index.

Mild - 5-15 events per hour
Moderate- 15-30 events per hour
Severe- 30 events per hour or greater

 Is Sleep Apnea a serious health risk?

Systemic health effects of sleep apnea can be life threatening: cardiovascular disease from a lack of oxygen in the blood, high blood pressure, stroke, depression/anxiety, type 2 diabetes and a risk of motor vehicle accidents 3 times greater than the normal population.


How does an Oral Appliance prevent Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Oral appliances are custom made acrylic devices that cover the upper and lower teeth that position the lower jaw forward and open, which help improve muscle tone and move the base of the tongue forward. This improves the size of the airway, allowing air to pass with less resistance. Oral appliances are approximately 85-90% effective in preventing snoring and up to 70% effective in Obstructice Sleep Apnea depending on the severity of the disorder.

What do I do next if I think I would benefit from an oral appliance?
A medical evaluation and diagnosis is important to treating all illnesses, including sleep disordered breathing. A dentist is not licensed to diagnose Snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It is paramount to begin the process by evaluation with your primary care physician. Some primary care physicians will evaluate the patient and order an overnight sleep study and others will refer the patient to a Pulmonologist for evaluation and treatment. Pulmonologists are board certified in sleep medicine and are highly qualified to treat sleep disordered breathing. Pulmonologists will work closely with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to determine the appropriate course of treatment because many patients may benefit from surgeries of the nose and throat to treat obstructive sleep apnea.

What are the treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea?
1. Positional Therapy. Sleeping on one's side can significantly improve a person's sleep apnea or snoring.
2. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This device is the standard of care in severe sleep apnea patients. It has a mask that fits tightly over the nose and sometimes the mouth which is attached to an air blower. This air blower administers an air pressure which prevents collapse of the airway.
3. Oral Appliance Therapy. Discussed below.


The basic indications for sleep apnea appliances are to treat primary snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is particularly appropriate for those patients who are CPAP intolerant.


Numerous appliances are available to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Research has shown that many appliances are quite effective and are considered an alternative when choosing a course of treatment.  In fact, sleep appliances offer several advantages over other therapy choices. They are inexpensive, non-invasive, easy to fabricate, reversible, and well accepted by patients.



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