Awareness of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) has increased over the last few years. Many patients are now seeking treatment for this very common and potentially life threatening condition.
Sleep apnea occurs when the tissue in the back of the throat collapses and blocks the airway. This results in a severe drop in oxygen levels in the blood stream. Basically the person stops breathing and is oxygen deprived. The condition may be mild (less than 15 episodes per hour), moderate (15-30 episodes per hour), or severe (greater than 30 episodes per hour).
SLEEP APNEA SYMPTOMS;
- Day time drowsines
- Sleepiness while driving
- Restless sleep
- Diminished mental capacity
- Loud snoring (about 50% of loud snorers have OSA)
- Waking from sleep chocking or gasping
TREATMENT of OSA and SNORING:
- The first step in treating OSA and/or snoring is an evaluation and diagnosis from a physician. A sleep study (polysomnogram) is the test used to determine if you have OSA or primary snoring with no OSA. After your physician has diagnosed your condition treatment may begin.
- Patients diagnosed with primary snoring and no OSA can be referred to a qualified dentist to construct a snore guard.
- Patients diagnosed with severe OSA will typically be advised to begin CPAP treatment.
- Patients diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA have the option of CPAP treatment or oral appliance therapy. If you choose oral appliance therapy, a dentist trained in dental sleep medicine can construct an appliance at the request of your physician. Many patients find the dental appliance easier to tolerate than the CPAP.
If you have any of the symptoms associated with OSA you should see your physician for evaluation. OSA has been linked to memory loss, higher risk of stroke, heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. Don’t be one of the millions of Americans who go undiagnosed.
I have completed numerous hours of education in dental sleep medicine and trained with one of the top dental sleep medicine clinicians in the country. If you have concerns or questions about OSA or snoring contact one of our offices at Carolina Mountain Dental for a free preliminary consultation. We are here to help you.
Jeff Efird DDS
About Dr. Efird
Dr. Jeff Efird has practiced dentistry for over 20 years. His love and respect for the dental profession continues to grow as he sees patients positively affected by proper oral health and quality treatment under his care. Dr. Efird understands a relationship with a dentist is a lifelong endeavor and values the respect and trust his patients extend.
Dr. Efird began his training as an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill. He attained a degree in chemistry before continuing his education and graduating from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry in 1987.
Dedicated to expanding his own knowledge and that of his practice, Dr. Efird has completed over 1000 hours of continuing education since graduating from dental school. Over the last decade he has focused most of his education of advanced restorative techniques and implant restorative solutions. Much of the training has been associated with the renowned Spear Education center in Scottsdale.
A member of the American Dental Association, Academy of General Dentistry, North Carolina Dental Society, and Buncombe County Dental Society, Dr. Efird is committed to providing outstanding quality care to patients in Western North Carolina. He lives in Asheville with his wife and son, and loves to fish and build handcrafted boats.