Sleep apnea treatment often consists of wearing a simple oral appliance during sleep. Dr. Hughes explains the diagnosis process, and central versus obstructive sleep apnea. He encourages patients suffering from daytime fatigue and other symptoms to pursue a diagnosis and then visit his office.
Sleep apnea is when people pause in their breathing at night when they're sleeping. What's interesting, there's been recent discoveries where they found out that, guess what, people have sleep apnea or many of them that have sleep apnea also clench or brux their teeth so they go hand-in-hand.
There are two kinds of sleep apnea. There's what we call central, which means it's in the brain, and there's peripheral, this is more of an anatomical situation. So if you're overweight, if you have a thick neck, that kind of thing, or a lot of what we call redundant tissue, a lot of soft tissue in the mouth, that's something that the dentist can fix. And then the ENT and the pulmonary doctor can fix.
I like to have the patient referred here after sleep studies by the pulmonary physician or by the ear, nose and throat physician. That way, I know we have a solid diagnosis and we make the appliances to re-position their mouth. In my office, we take the impressions and have the appliances made so that the patient can wear this to help mitigate the causes of sleep apnea.
Sometimes, there's an additional procedure that has to be performed called a lay-up procedure whereby the soft tissue or the soft palate has to be re-sculpted so that one can breathe easier. But I prefer that they also see the ENT first to perform any kind of surgery prior to that and also get them on a weight reduction program.
If you feel like you have some of these symptoms, like you're getting tired at work or you're falling asleep, go see your physician and preferably an ENT or pulmonary doctor and have them evaluate you to see if you have these symptoms and if you do, then you can come in here for treatment, by referral, for sleep apnea.