The best way to diagnose OSA (or any sleep disorder)
is to catch them when they are happening. That
is why there are essentially two alternatives
for diagnosing them: in a sleep lab or at home.
At the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Office we use
the latest diagnostic equipment for sleep disorders.
One of these is the Watch-Pat device which fits
comfortably over the patients hand and is
worn for one night. The resulting data reveals
key information, including the number and length
of periods that the patients sleep was interrupted.
We then use this data, combined with other diagnostic
tools, to determine the appropriate treatment
plan to correct the problem.
Treatment options for OSA fall into three
Lifestyle Changes. Many individuals
can relieve the symptoms of OSA by increasing
exercise and losing weight. Among other improvements,
this reduces fat and increases muscle tone
in the throat, which lessens any airway constriction.
Lifestyle changes are recommended even in
cases when they, alone, will not resolve the
Medical Interventions. Many OSA sufferers
experience improvements using an at-home sleep
device that delivers Continuous Positive Airway
Pressure (CPAP). The patient wears a mask
to sleep that is attached to a hose and a
pump, which supplies air at a stable pressure
level to prevent the airway closure that leads
to apnea. While effective, the machine can
be noisy and cumbersome. In fact, 80% of patients
are non-compliant after one year.
In the most severe cases, the only other medical
intervention is surgery. This is an option
of last resort. During the surgery, portions
of the uvula and wall of the throat are removed
and the jaw bone may be cut to create a wider
Dental Orthotic. At the TMJ and Sleep
Therapy Office, we prefer to use non-invasive,
customized and affordable dental orthodic
appliances whenever possible to reposition
the jaw, mouth and teeth in a way that helps
prevent airway closure. In 2006, the Academy
of Dental Sleep Medicine supported the use
of oral appliances as first line treatment
option for patients with mild to moderate
obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. Dr. Steven
Olmos, founder of the TMJ & Sleep Therapy
Centres, has created a series of specialized
orthotics just for this purpose. These portable
devices are placed into the patients
mouth and worn throughout the night. They
are easy to clean and maintain and are noiseless.
As a result, many patients prefer the dental
orthodics over CPAP.
Once Diagnosed, Is It Hard To Convince Patients
They Have A Problem?
Sleep Disorder Treatment With A Dental Appliance
How Do You Work With Medical Health Professionals?
One of the factors that contributes to snoring and sleep apnea is a loss of muscle tone in our mouth, throat and upper airway. This is no different than the rest of our body. If we are not active or get enough exercise, our muscle tissue gets flabby and is not as firm as it used to be. That's why we go to the gym to tone up and get into better shape.
Let's go to the Dental Gym to help our Sleep!
These nine the simple exercises can be done in your home with a toothbrush and a mirror to toughen up the tongue and the muscles in the back of your throat. Studies have shown that this can significantly reduce snoring and sleep apnea.
Think of professional singers who spend time every day practicing with their voice, breathing and throat muscles so that they can perform to their very best on stage. Similarly if you use these exercises you'll have a more rigid airway which will help you breathe and sleep better.
DO NOT ASSUME THAT THESE EXERCISES REPLACE PROFESSIONAL CARE!