DR. MEGHAN SCHULTZ AND TREATING OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA:
Dr. Meghan Schultz has earned the distinction of Qualified Dentist by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). She has completed over 100 hours of sleep-focused continuing education and is in the process of becoming board certified in dental sleep medicine. She is passionate about screening for and treating Obstruction Sleep Apnea in patients of every age.
SNORING VS OBSTRUCTION SLEEP APNEA:
While you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward, and your throat becomes narrow. As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate, leading to the sound of snoring. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder you snore. Sometimes the walls of the throat collapse completely, creating a condition called apnea. This is a serious condition which requires medical attention. If your physician believes that your snoring is not a symptom of a more serious sleep-disordered breathing problem, an oral appliance can be used to quiet your snoring and improve your sleep AND your bed partner’s sleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when the airway collapses during sleep, blocking the flow of air to the lungs. The person tries to continue to breathe, but the harder they try, the tighter the airway closes. Eventually, the brain “wakes” the person to a lighter level of sleep and they reposition their jaw and tongue to open the airway (usually with a gasp or snort). This process can occur hundreds of times a night for seconds to minutes at a time. Although the levels of severity of sleep apnea varies among individuals, it usually greatly affects the quality of life of the sufferer as well as his/her bed partner. If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to heart disease, stroke, and/or premature death.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) is comprised of a mask that delivers positive air flow to the nose/mouth during sleep. This device is highly effective when used regularly and properly. However, many patients have difficulty tolerating this therapy. CPAP intolerance can occur due to comfort issues, mask leak, and claustrophobia. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. A custom-fit oral appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness, and revitalize your health. OAT is effective, non-invasive, comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, and convenient. An oral appliance is worn in the mouth only while you sleep and fits like a sports mouthguard or orthodontic retainer. Oral appliances support your jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway. Oral appliances are generally covered by medical insurance.
HOW DR. MEGHAN SCHULTZ CAN HELP:
We work closely with physicians to treat snoring and sleep apnea. If you and your physician decide that oral appliance therapy is the best treatment option, then your physician will write a prescription for you to receive a custom-made oral appliance. More than 100 oral appliances have received FDA clearance. Dr. Schultz will fabricate the appliance that is best for you. At your first visit, Dr Schultz will talk to you about the benefits of treatment. You also will receive information on the potential side effects and the cost of therapy. We will then conduct a complete clinical evaluation. This will include an examination of the teeth, jaw, tongue, and airway, and possibly a new xray of your mouth. Oral appliances are customized using digital or physical impressions and models of your teeth. Follow up visits will be needed to ensure optimal fit and effectiveness. A follow-up sleep study will also be recommended. Annual assessments of the appliance will be necessary.