Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night, perhaps hundreds of times. These gaps in breathing are called apneas, meaning the absence of breath. A constricted or collapsed airway causes snoring and is usually accompanied by disturbed sleep, and daytime sleepiness. The damaging consequences to the health of the patient can be many, not the least of which could be high blood pressure. People might not even know they have the condition.
As part of his oral health examination, Dr. Lee inquires about patients’ sleeping habits and helps diagnose OSA. Different options for treatment are discussed with patients. He diagnoses and determines which device is the most effective for the patient’s particular sleeping problem.
Many patients cannot tolerate big CPAP machines but can use dental devices much more comfortably. Such devices can hold the lower jaw in a forward position, maintaining a clear airway to reduce snoring and improve breathing or prevent soft tissue in the throat from collapsing and obstructing the airway. Each patient is fitted with impressions and a device built to help keep the airway open to allow for air to pass.