Sleep apnea is a serious health condition that we have been treating in our Toledo-area dental office for the last 10 years. Sleep apnea is diagnosed by a sleep specialist but dentists are at the forefront of treating the disease. Often, dentists are the first medical professionals to recognize some of the symptoms and refer the patient to a sleep team. Dr. Huntzinger has completed special training and works with one of the top sleep specialty clinics in the greater Toledo area.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated pauses in breathing. A person with sleep apnea can stop and start breathing as many as 30 times per minute. This causes sounds like snoring, gasping or choking during sleep as the body struggles to breathe. Because people with sleep apnea partially wake up with each cessation in breath, they do not get the adequate regenerative sleep their body needs.
The more common type of sleep apnea, obstructive sleep apnea, occurs when the throat muscles relax and the airway becomes blocked. These breathing cessations can have serious consequences, as they cut off the flow of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs.
What is dangerous about sleep apnea is that many people with the condition do not know that there is a problem. They may feel excessively drowsy during the day, have difficulty staying awake and experience chronic headaches or dry mouth, but they do not realize the root of the problem is a disorder like sleep apnea. Often the patient’s spouse complains that they snore loudly, but does not realize sleep apnea is to blame.
When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, depression and anxiety. People that are chronically sleep deprived are at a higher risk of motor vehicle accidents and workplace accidents. Diagnosis and therapeutic intervention is critical to reduce health-related risks and improve quality of sleep and quality of life.
The goal of obstructive sleep apnea treatment is to prevent the airway from becoming blocked. Traditional treatment involves a CPAP machine to keep the airway open. However, many people find the CPAP machine to be bulky, loud and uncomfortable. A more modern and well tolerated treatment solution is the use of an oral appliance to keep the upper and lower jaws (or tongue) in a forward-pointing position and prevent them from collapsing at the back of the throat. Oral appliances are sleek, comfortable and very effective. Dr. Huntzinger has been using the Dorsal appliance as well at Tap and Herbst with great success. We can have you take a short screening test on one of our tablets to see if you have a risk of sleep apnea. If the risk is high, we also offer a take-home test that we have read by a local sleep specialist. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea we work with your physician and insurance company to ensure you receive proper treatment and maximum benefit for that treatment from your insurance company. We also work with Medicare to ensure our patients get maximum benefit for necessary treatment.
An easy test to see if you might have sleep apnea is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. You can also contact our office for more information.
If you or your spouse is a chronic snorer, the culprit could be sleep apnea. Please contact our office today to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Huntzinger and get a referral to a sleep specialist. You may need to go to a sleep clinic for an overnight test or have a home sleep study done.
Monday: 8 am - 8 pm
Tuesday: 8 am - 8 pm
Wednesday: 8 am - 8 pm
Thursday: 8 am - 5 pm
Friday: 8 am - 4 pm
Saturday: 8:30 am - 1 pm