Our sleep is vitally important to maintaining good health. In fact, it has now been shown that the lack of sleep can be connected to every major health problem that can affect us, including cancer. Evergreen Dental (253-474-3223) may be able to help you achieve the sleep you so desperately require.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is one of many sleep disorders that can occur and can be life- threatening. This condition occurs when the tongue and soft palate collapse onto the back of the throat, this blocks the upper airway causing airflow to stop. When the oxygen level drops low enough the brain moves out of sleep and you will awaken. The airway then opens causing the throat obstruction to clear. The flow of air starts again and you fall back to sleep. This process can happen hundreds of times per night without most people knowing it. The combination of low oxygen levels and fragmented sleep are the major contributors to most ill effects that Sleep Apnea patients suffer. These effects often include heart problems (heart attack, congestive heart failure, high blood pressure), strokes, arrhythmias and is even associated with diabetes. Of course, patients with poor sleep have a higher incidence of work related and driving accidents also.
Snoring is very often a precursor to OSA. It has been estimated that 60 percent of men and 40 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 60 years of age snore. If you or your partner snore, it would be advisable to get that checked out. Since both snoring and OSA can be serious medical conditions, they must be diagnosed by a physician. Your regular physician can either refer you for the appropriate diagnostic testing or refer you to a sleep physician depending on your symptoms. Other symptoms the patient may or may not have are excessive daytime tiredness and witnessed pauses in breathing during sleep.
Once you have a diagnosis, treatment options can include good sleep hygiene and weight loss (if appropriate). However, medical and dental treatments include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Oral Appliance Therapy (OA) and possible surgery.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is pressurized air generated from a bedside machine connected to a mask covering the nose and sometimes the mouth. Although this is very effective treatment for many patients, many cannot tolerate this method. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) consists of wearing an appliance in your mouth to treat snoring and OSA. These devices are similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) involves the selection, design, fitting and use of a custom oral appliance that is worn during sleep. This appliance helps keep the airway from closing. Oral Appliances (OA) can often be used alone but sometimes they are used in combination with other treatments. Both CPAP treatment and OA Therapy are treatments that must be used for the rest of the patient’s life. Very rarely can Obstructive Sleep Apnea be reversed without much weight loss, or in rare instances, surgery.
Dentists who provide treatment for OSA and even snoring should always do so in conjunction with the patient’s physician. If you end up receiving OA Therapy and you and the dentist feel it is working you should always be referred back to your physician for evaluation.
Dr. Steve Marinkovich has been providing OA Therapy for snoring and OSA for over 17 years. He is the only Board Certified (American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine) dentist in the South Puget Sound area. Furthermore, his clinic is the only accredited dental clinic (American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine) in Western Washington for this treatment. Dr. Marinkovich always works in conjunction with your physician to assure proper treatment. Evergreen Dental bills medical insurance for this treatment and typically it is a covered benefit.
**Call (253) 474-3223** today to schedule an appointment or discuss your situation with our well trained staff. Evergreen Dental is conveniently located near the Tacoma Mall, just off I-5. Please visit <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sleepwellnw.com"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.sleepwellnw.com"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.sleepwellnw.com"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.sleepwellnw.com">http://www.sleepwellnw.com</a></a></a></a> or http://www.doctormink.com for more information. You can also search “doctormink” on Facebook and “like” Evergreen Dental Center’s page for office updates. Remember OSA can often be a life threatening condition and Evergreen Dental could have a relatively easy solution for you or a loved one.