Solving Sleep Apnea

The National Sleep Foundation estimates sleep apnea affects one in 15 people—that’s 18 million Americans. Yet an astounding 90% of those 18 million go undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated.

In Dr. Van Istendal’s own words, “Sleep apnea is interrupted breathing during sleep. While you are sleeping your tongue can cover your airway, causing you to stop breathing for short periods of time. This reduces the amount of oxygen flowing to your brain and body.”

Snoring, a common side effect of sleep apnea, occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat that is partially obstructing the airways vibrates as air passes over it.

Those who suffer from sleep apnea experience shallow breathing and can even stop breathing altogether for short periods during sleep. This cessation of breathe, in extreme cases, can happen hundreds of times in one night.

By limiting breathing, sleep apnea leads to cells not receiving much needed oxygen to power proper cell function. This leads to a number of health issues as sleep is a critical time for the body to rest and repair. Related health issues include heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Sufferers may also find they have a dry mouth, sore throat, headache, attention problems or moodiness.

Dr. Van Istendal, who has over 30 years of experience, offers patients one of the New Jersey area’s increasingly popular sleep apnea treatments—oral appliances. If you suffer from snoring or sleep apnea, this dental device can be the simple, unobtrusive solution you’ve been looking for.

To determine if you have sleep apnea, Dr. Van Istendal will conduct an initial exam. He will compile data using digital impressions, measurements of the throat and mouth, BMI, sleep history, and other medical issues they may be experiencing. He will then coordinate with and share his findings with your physician. If they believe you have sleep apnea, they will facilitate a diagnosis and determine the best treatment plan for your health needs.

What are oral appliances?

Oral appliances are an increasingly popular sleep apnea treatment—favored for being simple, unobtrusive, and most importantly, effective.

Similar in appearance to a mouth guard, oral appliances for sleep apnea slightly shift the tongue and jaw forward to open up the airways during sleep.

Traditionally, sleep apnea has been treated medically with a CPAP device. This method delivers pressurized air through a mask that forces the airways of the wearer to remain open. While effective, the CPAP mask needs to be worn all night, which can feel claustrophobic. Also, the CPAP device makes noise as the machine works to deliver air, which can disturb both you and your partner.

In contrast, oral appliance therapy is comfortable, quiet, easy, and portable.

If you are a sleep apnea candidate, your physician will write a prescription for an oral appliance. Your dentist will then measure your mouth to make a custom-fit oral appliance.

Once made, the dental team will teach you how to insert your new device as well as make any necessary adjustments.

Typically, another sleep study will be done in two to three months to determine if the appliance has been successful in treatment.

Oral appliance therapy is often covered by medical insurance plans and can dramatically improve your life. You just might find you sleep better, have more energy, and have an improved mood thanks to your treatment!

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