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Top Dentists 2013: How Dentists Are Helping Some Patients Sleep Easier
Read about the mouthpiece that helps with sleep apnea. By Melissa Romero
Comments () | Published April 18, 2013

Sleep apnea is a chronic disorder that has typically been treated through surgery or by using a breathing mask—until now.

The field of sleep dentistry is moving to the forefront of the profession. Using oral appliance therapy, dentists can treat patients who suffer from sleep apnea, which causes them to stop breathing throughout the night and can lead to heart disease and stroke.

After a patient has been assessed and referred by a sleep doctor, a dentist fits the patient with a mouthguard-like appliance. “You can move the lower jaw forward to open up the airway,” says Dr. Joseph Catanzano of Foxhall Smiles in DC.

The mouthpiece is an alternative to a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which emits air through a breathing mask. While CPAPs remain the gold-standard treatment, patients often experience discomfort when using them, including nasal congestion, dry eyes, and a sore throat. Although the oral appliance—which is fitted to both the upper and lower jaw—may cause a slight change to a patient’s bite, the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine endorses it for treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea in adults. A custom appliance starts at $2,000.

To find a dentist qualified to treat sleep apnea, visit the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine’s website.

Top Dentists 2013 ››

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  • As the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine mentioned before, oral appliances have made improvement in comfort and style. The treatment of sleep apnea by dentists is continuing to break ground in helping to treat patients who are unable to use their CPAP machine.

    Furthermore, many of our patients have been able to use their major medical insurance to help pay with the oral appliance.

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Posted at 09:00 AM/ET, 04/18/2013 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Articles