About Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that is caused by the relaxation of a patient’s muscles while they sleep. This causes a collapse of the soft tissue which results in the blockage of the airways. Once the airways become blocked, oxygen levels become reduced, causing patients to gasp, choke, or stop breathing. These breathing pauses are often followed by periods of wakefulness which can directly affect a patient’s sleep patterns, and thus, their overall health. Sleep apnea is most commonly caused by a narrow airway, a misaligned jaw, and excess body weight. Dr. McCracken is trained to treat this sleeping disorder.
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"Few things cause me to have greater anxiety than going to the dentist. I tense up, my heart rate makes a hummingbird's look slow, and I'm often a puddle of perspiration at the end of the appointment. So I very much appreciated Dr. McCracken's empathy and his approach to pain avoidance and pain management. I had 4 cracked teeth that needed crowns, which amped up my anxiety level to new heights. Thankfully the sedation and local anesthetic worked to perfection for the temporary crown installations during the first appointment. And Dr. McCracken exhibited great patience with me in the second appointment (to install the permanent crowns), when I needed additional local anesthetic to alleviate lingering sensitivity."- B.B. / SmileReminder / Apr 07, 2021
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Signs of Sleep Apnea
The most common symptom of the sleeping disorder is excessive snoring, while patients also report gasping and choking at times. Patients suffering from sleep apnea have also reported dry mouth, dry throat, excessive fatigue, depression, irritability and mood swings. Sleep apnea can affect all aspects of a patient’s life and should not be ignored if it is suspected.
Candidates for Therapy
Because the American Academy of Sleep Medicine strongly recommends the use of dental appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea, most patients with the sleep disorder are candidates for the treatment. Patients who will most benefit from the use of these devices are:
- Patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea
- Patients with excessive snoring
- Patients who are not ready to try a CPAP
- Patients who are seeking an alternative to surgery
Oral Appliance Therapy
For the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine first recommends the use of dental appliances. Laser Smile Studio offers two types of dental appliances which have produced positive outcomes. The first, the Mandibular Advancement Device, helps to keep the airway clear by holding the lower jaw in place. This device resembles a mouth piece worn by athletes. The next, the Tongue Retraining Device, is a splint-like device which holds the tongue in place, preventing it from obstructing the airway. Dr. McCracken will assess the symptoms described by his patients before determining which appliance is most suitable for their situation.
Plan Your Procedure
Schedule Your Consultation
Dr. McCracken can meet with patients during a consultation to assess their symptoms and discuss whether dental appliance therapy may be a solution to their sleeping disorder symptoms. If you believe you could benefit from sleep apnea treatment, please give our office a call today.