Sleep Apnea and Airway Evaluation
Sleep apnea can be a very serious medical issue. With moderate to severe sleep apnea, many patients do not get restful sleep leading to day time drowsiness. In addition, it can have long term health effects. It is initially evaluated by specific sleep clinics where often times a sleep study will be done to asses how often a patient actually stops breathing and significantly slows their respiratory rate.
Dr. Peifer or Dr. Levin offer two major treatment options. The first and most commonly done is the fabrication of an appliance worn on the teeth known as a Mandibular Repositioning Appliance (MRD). The goal of this is to mechanical bring the lower jaw forward and keep it there during sleep. This pulls the tongue forward and helps open the airway so there is less resistance to flow. Most adults easily adapt to this appliance. In severe cases, the lower jaw can be surgically advanced. Though more extensive than appliance therapy, it can offer a permanent solution to sleep apnea.
By the use of our cone beam CT technology, the airway can be evaluated. This evaluation looks for mechanical obstructions. The smallest airway area can be calculated as well as the volume of the upper airway. These values are compared to known norms which will in turn help in the diagnosis and treatment prognosis.
We encourage your inquires on these very important issues.