Dr. Lockhart has been certified by the American Academy of Sleep Disorder Disciplines to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with a custom-made oral appliance.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the air we breathe in while we are sleeping gets disrupted or blocked and our bodies are deprived of the oxygen we so desperately need. OSA often goes undetected because we are asleep and are unaware of the toll it takes on our bodies. Some physical or medical conditions that can contribute to sleep apnea include the following:
- Nostril structure issues
- Premature birth
- Certain genetic disorders
- Neuromuscular conditions
- Kidney or heart failure
What Happens When Sleep Apnea Goes Untreated?
Severe sleep apnea, when left untreated, can take more years off our lives than smoking cigarettes does. Untreated sleep apnea causes a lower oxygen level in your blood. Other serious consequences include:
- Memory problems
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular disease
- Frequent headaches
- High blood pressure
- Risk of heart attack
How Can I Recognize Sleep Apnea?
The heart and brain are two very important organs that may be seriously impacted by untreated OSA. Common signs of OSA include: Snoring
- Gastric reflux
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Teeth grinding at night
- Family history of sleep apnea
The most common way to determine if someone has OSA is a sleep test. Sleep tests may be done in a lab and monitored by a technician overnight, or you can do one in the comfort of your own bed. Regular visits to your dentist are also helpful. Dr. Lockhard can evaluate your oral tissue during your exam and recognize early signs of sleep apnea.
What Are My Options for Treating Sleep Apnea?
The two most common therapies for treating OSA are:
- CPAP or a BiPAP machine
- Oral appliance therapy
An OSA occlusal appliance is a custom-made appliance that fits in your mouth and is worn at night. The device gently pushes your lower jaw forward just enough to help keep your airway open at night which promotes positive airway pressure and keeps continuous airflow to our bodies while we sleep.
Dr. Lockhart is trained and certified to make custom-fitted OSA appliances and to follow-up by testing the appliance to verify that it is functioning properly.