Sleep Apnea

Do you or someone you know snore?

Snoring may seem like a natural thing, but it is actually not a healthy or normal pattern at all. It is usually caused by soft tissue that partially blocks your airway while you recline, and this blockage causes the throat to vibrate, leading to the familiar sounds of snoring. However, this event actually decreases the amount of air that makes it into the lungs, and this means that oxygen levels drop in the body – particularly the lungs and the brain. Clearly, this is far from restful or restorative.

Even worse, a condition known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway is fully blocked. This is technically suffocation, and the brain recognizes you are at risk and causes a gasp response. We have all seen someone struggle and snort their way out of sleep, and though it seems humorous, it is actually very problematic. Some sleepers are fully awakened by this event, and some sleep through it, never realizing that their body has done this repeatedly throughout the night. OSA and snoring go hand in hand, and usually when you are a heavy snorer, it often means you are going to suffer from OSA. While the threats this disruptive and unhealthy sleep pattern poses to your health are bad enough, if you share a bed with a partner, it is highly likely that your snoring or OSA is waking them throughout the night, as well. This leaves them with a deficit of restful sleep and both of you can develop a host of medical problems related directly to your condition. Just consider that untreated cases of OSA are often associated with high blood pressure, driving or work-related accidents from daytime sleepiness, obesity, headache, irritability, impaired concentration, memory loss, and even stroke or heart disease.

Do you refuse to wear your CPAP while you are sleeping?

sleep-apnea-cpapWe have a solution for you that does not require you to use a CPAP. All of this tells you that it is of the utmost importance to do something about your snoring or OSA as soon as possible, and Dr. Daniel Burton, D.D. S. has the perfect solution. At his Michigan Sleep Network in Grand Rapids, MI, the doctor and his team of dedicated professionals provide patients with dental sleep medicine. This is specialized dentistry dealing with problems associated with OSA, snoring, and any other risks from sleep-related dental conditions. While you might automatically assume that CPAP machines are the standard remedy, that is far from the case. CPAP machines are prescribed by a physician when a patient has been formally diagnosed with OSA. However, oral appliances can be made by dentists trained in dental sleep medicine and will provide an ideal alternative to the clunky, uncomfortable, and disruptive CPAP options.

Do you snore loudly and keep your partner up at night?

Patients already diagnosed by their physician with sleep apnea or OSA (even if currently using CPAP machines) can consult with Dr. Burton to discuss oral appliances specifically designed and approved to handle their issues far more comfortably and effectively. Dr. Burton will do a comprehensive exam, review your medical history, and coordinate with you and your physician to discuss the ideal oral appliances. Whether you are fitted for a Respire Pink, Respire Blue, Clear Dream, or Tap3 appliance, you will be astonished at how simple a solution it is. Follow up visits to the Michigan Sleep Network will be necessary to monitor your comfort and results, but most patients enjoy immediate relief of symptoms. Designed in a way similar to an athletic mouthguard, the devices will reposition the lower jaw and the tongue while you are in a reclining position. This realignment and movement of the tissue effectively opens the airway and allows the sleeper to finally breathe freely throughout the night. In fact, the range of styles and options proves that oral appliances may be a far more suitable solution to sleep apnea and OSA. After all, between 25 and 50% of patients prescribed CPAP cannot tolerate the machines. However, the devices are small, comfortable, and easy to use, making them an ideal answer.

How does oral appliance therapy work?

oral-applianceCustom-made oral appliances reposition the tongue and lower the jaw forward during sleep to maintain an open airway. A dentist trained in dental sleep medicine is able to select, fabricate, fit, and adjust these devices to help patients breathe freely during sleep. A dentist cannot diagnose sleep apnea. Diagnosis should be done at an accredited sleep center. Oral appliance therapy is used to treat mild to moderate OSA if a patient prefers it over the the standard therapy of Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP). The gold standard for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea is CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure). However, some patients find that the CPAP device does not work for them. When a patient is unable to tolerate CPAP, a dentist can provide oral appliance therapy. Oral Appliances are placed in the mouth and are worn much like an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth guard. The appliance is worn during sleep to assist in preventing collapes of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat. Custom dental appliances for sleep apnea are covered by most medical insurance companies and Medicare. If you have been diagnosed with OSA or sleep apnea, and you find that you cannot tolerate your CPAP device, give Dr. Burton a call at 616-784-9150 and book a consultation to discuss oral appliances and how they help you enjoy a far healthier night of sleep. You may also get in touch using the online contact form.

Having trouble with your CPAP?

Did you know that 25 to 50 percent of sleep apnea patients do not comply with or tolerate CPAP?

Untreated OSA increases your risk for:

  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Early onset of Alzheimer’s
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Obesity
  • Memory loss
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability

Do I have Sleep Apnea? To determine your risk for sleep apnea, answer our handy STOP-BANG questionnaire below:

Snoring– Have you been told that you snore?
Tired– Do you often feel tired, fatiqued or sleepy during daytime?
Observed– Did you know if you stop breathing or has anyone witnessed you stop breathing while you are asleep?
Pressure– Do you have high blood pressure or are you on medication to control high blood pressure?
BMI– Is your body mass index greater than 28?
Age – are you over 50 years old?
Neck – Are you a male with a neck circumference greater than 17 inches, or a female with a neck circumference greater than 16 inches?
Gender – Are you a male?

If you answered “yes” to 3 or more, you are at high risk of obstructive sleep apnea. If you answered “yes” to less than 3, you are at low risk for obstructive sleep apnea.

Remember, snoring is not normal. If you need an alternative to treat sleep apnea or just discovered you are at high risk for OSA, contact Dr. Burton today at 616-784-9150 to schedule a complimentary consultation.