If you’ve gone too long without a good night’s sleep, you’re in good company. It’s estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with about 80 percent of cases going undiagnosed.
Many people don’t realize that a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine is often the earliest professional to identify sleep disorders. Davis and Ferguson Family Dentistry offers treatment options for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in Augusta and the surroundings areas of Martinez, Grovetown, and Evans.
What is Sleep Apnea & Who Does it Affect?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes interruptions in a person’s breathing during sleep, repeatedly depriving the brain and body of oxygen for short periods of time, sometimes hundreds of times per night. The most common misconception about sleep apnea is that it only affects old, overweight men. Research shows that people of all genders, ages, and sizes can suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine estimates there are about 200,000 people diagnosed each year.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Snoring or intermittent snoring with pauses
- Choking sounds while asleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Awakening with gasping
- Poor memory
- Irritability or moodiness
- Inability to concentrate
- Morning headaches
Dental Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
- Bruxism or teeth grinding
- Cracked, broken, or missing teeth
- Excessive jaw clenching or TMJ
- Worn front teeth
- Pain when chewing
- Chronic headaches
- Neck and shoulder pain
How Sleep Apnea and Snoring Affect Your Health
Untreated sleep apnea often causes people to wake up repeatedly, making normal, restorative sleep impossible. It can increase your risk of many other health conditions, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and dementia. In addition to reducing long-term health risks, treating sleep apnea will likely result in you feeling more rested, having more energy, and feeling mentally sharper.
Even if you don’t have obstructive sleep apnea, you may still snore, which affects you AND your bed partner. Studies show that treating snoring can give a bed partner the equivalent of an extra hour of quality sleep per night. Treating snoring can improve your quality of sleep, health outcomes, and relationship with your partner.
Dental Appliances to Treat Sleep Apnea and Snoring
One treatment option for sleep apnea or snoring is a dental appliance that helps keep the upper airway open and prevents the oxygen deprivation caused by sleep apnea. Dr. Ferguson can fit you with a simple, custom-made dental appliance to alleviate sleep apnea symptoms and drastically improve your quality of life. The comfortable appliance is easy to care for and is worn only while sleeping. The appliance fits much like a mouth guard or orthodontic retainer but is designed to help maintain an open upper airway. It is relatively inexpensive, has few side effects, and is often covered by your medical insurance.
Why Choose Dr. Ferguson?
- He coordinates and works closely with your physician to provide the best possible treatment for your sleep apnea or excessive snoring.
- He has achieved the Qualified Dentist Designation from the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM), the gold standard in dental sleep medicine. He is one of very few dentists in the CSRA who has achieved this status.
- He always stays up-to-date by frequently taking continuing education courses specializing in dental sleep apnea. He is currently working toward obtaining his Diplomate status with the AADSM.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! Dr. Ferguson can treat you with an appliance while you receive your routine care from your regular dentist. The two of them will work closely together making sure you receive the quality of care you deserve.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), oral appliances should be made by a dentist who is trained in dental sleep medicine. A dentist with proper training will understand your sleep disorder, select the appropriate appliance, and tailor the appliance to maximize effectiveness.
Yes! We will work closely with your medical doctor to develop the best personalized treatment for you.
Yes! Oral appliances can be a great solution when traveling when CPAP is not ideal or practical. We will work closely with your medical doctor to develop the best personalized treatment for you.
You can pick up a sleep test from our office and be tested for sleep apnea from the comfort of your own home. After you complete and return the test, the results will be read and scored by a board certified sleep physician. Then we personally discuss your results with you in a way that’s easy to understand.
The three main types of treatment are CPAP therapy, oral appliance therapy, or surgery. A combination of these therapies may also be recommended. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends oral sleep appliances as the primary treatment option for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.
Like a retainer or other mouthpiece, it may take some time to get used to the appliance, but very few patients are unable to tolerate it. Also, research shows that compliance rates for an oral appliance is much greater than that of CPAP.
Yes! If you do not have obstructive sleep apnea, but still experience chronic snoring, we can make an oral appliance to help decrease the severity and sound of your snoring.