Dental Sleep Medicine
Dentistry is a branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of disease in the oral cavity. Dentists are now becoming more involved in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of sleep-disordered breathing. Sleep-disordered breathing is a general term for breathing difficulties that occur during sleep. Sleep-disordered breathing can range from frequent loud snoring to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Sleep-disordered breathing occurs in children and adults and can have a major impact on systemic health.
In recent years, the connection between sleep-disordered breathing and dentistry has been well studied and documented. Dr. Katie Reardon Skinner has been trained to screen for sleep-disordered breathing. After the screening process has been completed, she works with ENTs and pulmonologists to create a solution that works best for the patient.
Oral Sleep Appliance Therapy
An oral sleep appliance is custom designed to fit the patient it is being fabricated for. The purpose of the appliance is to position the mandible (lower jaw) forward to keep the airway from collapsing and causing breathing problems.
Oral appliances for sleep-disordered breathing are not the only form of therapy available today. Oral sleep appliances work best for patients who snore or have mild to low-moderate sleep apnea. Oral sleep appliances are also a good alternative for patients who cannot tolerate wearing a CPAP.
CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. CPAP therapy involves the use of a CPAP machine to keep the airway open and free from obstruction.
In cases where CPAP therapy cannot be tolerated or the desired results are not obtained, surgery is the final option.
If you think you or someone you know may be experiencing sleep-disordered breathing, call Dr. Katie Reardon Skinner for a consultation to learn more about this condition.