Sick of your CPAP? We have some exciting news at BOCO Dental! Our skilled dentist in Boulder, Dr. Marisa Patt, is now treating people of all ages with a proprietary, non-invasive, non-surgical option for the treatment of mild to moderate sleep apnea, snoring, and sleep disordered breathing. Below you will find some information about sleep apnea and why this is such an important issue to be aware of. If you have questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment here at our practice, please contact us today.

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What Are the Types of Sleep Apnea?

So… what is sleep apnea? Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by a person’s breathing stopping and starting throughout the night. There are three main types of sleep apnea, and all can cause snoring, feelings of tiredness even after a full night of sleep, and possibly serious health issues:

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

An estimated 80% of people with obstructive sleep apnea are undiagnosed. Yes, this is a shocking statistic! Being aware of the symptoms is the first step towards getting help.

The most common signs and symptoms include:

  • Snoring
  • Gasping for air during sleep or breathing pauses during sleep
  • Awakening with a dry mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
  • Difficulty paying attention while awake
  • Irritability
  • TMJ Disorder

At BOCO Dental, we use technology developed by SleepImage to assess your sleep quality objectively. All sleep data is diagnosed by a certified Sleep MD. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, please schedule a consultation with us.

What Are the Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea?

Although sleep apnea can affect any person (even children), there are factors that increase your risk. Understanding these factors can help you maintain awareness and take action before long-term damage is done.

According to the Mayo Clinic*, obstructive sleep apnea has the following risk factors:

At BOCO Dental we are passionate about your health. Do you have one or more of these risk factors? If so, please call us for an evaluation.

What Are Some of the Health Problems Associated with Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition and is not to be taken lightly. As we learn more about the body and brain, scientists are learning just how important continuous sleep is for recovery and growth, as well as overall health. Sleep apnea disturbs the sleep, and starves the brain of oxygen, which can result in the following complications in adults: 

  • Fatigue during the day
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)/heart conditions. 
    • Obstructive sleep apnea may increase the risk of a recurrent heart attack, abnormal heartbeat (for example: atrial fibrillation), and stroke. For people with heart disease, numerous low blood oxygen episodes (such as hypoxemia or hypoxia ) can result in sudden death 
  • Irritability/mood swings 
  • Trouble focusing/concentrating.
  • Liver problems
  • Complications with surgery and/or medications 
  • Impaired memory, Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome

Treatment of sleep apnea can literally save lives. 

What Are the Sleep Apnea Treatment Options?

Since 2017, the American Dental Association has encouraged dentists to screen for sleep related breathing disorders / sleep apnea. Because dentists are experts of the oral cavity, they are uniquely positioned to notice the oral signs of sleep apnea and be part of the treatment team. 

At BOCO Dental we can help those who have sleep apnea. The first step is to be evaluated to confirm the diagnosis, and to understand the root cause of your sleep apnea. Diagnosis can often be done with an at-home sleep test and/or by a sleep physician. 

For treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, treatment options include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP/AutoPAP), oral appliance therapy (OAT), epigenetic orthodontic therapy (EOT), orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT), and/or ENT surgical procedures based on clinical correlation and co-morbidities. 

If it is determined that you do indeed have sleep apnea, an oral appliance can help mitigate its negative effects. At BOCO Dental, we can test and treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea with the non-invasive Vivos® Method. This method uses a custom-fit mouth guard to stimulate bone growth in the mouth, facial structures and nasal passageways. In other words, it works by increasing the size of the upper airway and balances the jaw in a more open and forward position. As the treatment progresses, breathing patterns during sleep can normalize, and often patients find that they breathe through their nose more. The Vivos® mouthguard is an FDA-approved device to treat sleep apnea. 

Learn more about Vivos® here

Additionally, Dr. Patt offers the innovative Solea® Sleep Laser Treatment for snoring. This state-of-the-art laser therapy may be an ideal solution for palatal snorers, and the treatment is often completed in about 5 to 15 minutes here at our office. 

Learn more about Solea® Sleep Laser Treatment 

Our doctor can help determine an optimal treatment plan once you have been evaluated. Dr. Patt will be happy to talk with you about your concerns and answer your questions. 

Pediatric Sleep Apnea and Benefits of Early Treatment

Sleep apnea can be an issue even in young children. Certainly, genetics have a role to play. Unfortunately, since we have been eating an industrialized diet, tooth jaw development has not happened the way it should, and as a result, many people end up with an underdeveloped maxilla. When a child has an underdeveloped upper and/or lower jaw, the airway could be impacted, and the child may struggle with other health issues during their lifetime. It is known that a child who has sleep apnea will grow up to be an adult who has sleep apnea.

Some signs of sleep apnea in children include:

  • Bedwetting
  • Chronic allergies
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Swollen tonsils and adenoids
  • Trouble at school
  • Irritability
  • Frequent headaches
  • Restless sleep or snoring
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Nightmares or night terrors
  • Arrested growth or crowded/crooked teeth

A removable oral appliance can be used to widen the palate, and can be safely and easily used on children. In conjunction with screening for oral soft tissue considerations (like tongue ties and posturing), children can be treated at a young age, develop a correct size maxilla and proper swallowing habits, and hopefully avoid being diagnosed with sleep apnea as an adult.

If you or your child is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with us today!


*Mayo Clinic

Science Daily®

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