Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea, also known as OSA affects billions of people all over the globe. However, some aren’t even aware that they are waking up dozens of times a night gasping for breath because they can’t breathe.

OSA causes the back of the throat to relax, so much so that it’s impossible to breathe. While snoring is a sign, there are plenty more to be aware of that include:

  • Waking up Gasping
  • Morning Headaches
  • Neckaches
  • Loss of Libido
  • Dry Mouth
  • Mood Swings
  • Trouble Staying Awake
  • Insomnia
  • Memory Loss
  • Waking up Dizzy

If you have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea you probably know about CPAP Therapy, however, it isn’t the only solution for people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea.

Dr. Harry Ringer is a Costa Mesa dentist who is licensed to provide patients with oral appliance therapy or dental sleep medicine. This type of therapy often includes mouth guards and/or splints to help relax the back of the throat.

Call for more information regarding dental sleep medicine in Costa Mesa today.

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As a dentist I am not qualified to do the actual testing or evaluation to determine if a patient has OSA, this must be performed by a trained sleep specialist and center. Something that is not always being done by “Snore Centers”. What I feel are my roles in treating and diagnosis of these conditions are:

  • Recognizing certain indicators, that can tell us if you are a candidate for evaluation. Certain signs in the mouth are very much associated with the condition, whether it be size of opening to the airway, dental condition and more. Other external signs as well as symptoms revealed by the patient can also be flags.
  • One thing that is different about most patients experience in our style of dental office versus the clinic environment or especially the experience at your general medical practitioner, is the time spent in conversation. Insurance driven offices have no time to “chat”, but these chats can reveal a lot about peoples health. Whether the patient falls asleep in our chair, relates how his/her spouse complains about the snoring or relates their loss of mentally sharpness (all side affects of sleep apnea), we get to hear this information.

I feel my role is in recognizing and pointing the patient in the right direction, i.e. sleep centers and specialists. We offer a short questionairre to all patients and then referrals to sleep centers, where they can be evaluated and treated.

Treatment can have multiple forms, which can be explained and determined by the severity as well as compliance and wants of the patient. One such treatment is an oral, dental device that can only be fabricated by a qualified dentist. If this option becomes the one of choices, then the patient can return to us for the fabrication and delivery of said appliance. These are not to be confused with the low end “snore devices” offered by dentists or on TV. Eliminating the snoring without evaluation may only mask the condition and be a bigger problem in the future.

All these tests and treatments will be covered by your medical insurance (if your insurance covers it), giving the patient much better coverage than the minimal amount dental insurance covers.

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