Dental Sleep Medicine is an exciting, growing field of dentistry. It’s the diagnosis and treatment of sleep-related breathing disorders, including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea treatments. Snoring is a common problem that can disrupt both the snorer’s and their partner’s sleep. Sleep apnea is a more serious condition that can lead to health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. Dental sleep medicine is a safe and effective way to treat both conditions.
Dr. William Harper is a Diplomate in the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. He is an active member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). His credentials ensure you as a patient that your care is of the highest standard and meets all recognized guidelines in the treatment of sleep disorders and sleep apnea. Dr. Harper is currently the only dentist in the area to have completed this training and certification. This includes a Dental Sleep Medicine Mini-Residency at the University of North Carolina.
Why is Training in Sleep Medicine Important for Patients?
The recent increase in diagnoses of sleep disorders has led to a dramatic increase in the use of numerous types of treatments and therapies. The most common treatments and therapies address snoring, sleep-disordered breathing, and sleep apnea. Dentists can offer oral appliance therapy to patients with more moderate forms of sleep disorders. However, without proper training and certification, the outcome and impact on a patient’s overall health may not be optimal.
Dr. William Harper has committed many hours to additional training in dental sleep medicine to provide comprehensive, well-informed care for sleep-related disorders and snoring. This additional training and education in sleep medicine put him in the top 1% of dentists when it comes to choosing the right local dentist to address your personal needs.
Dr. Harper and the team at Coastal Sleep & TMJ work closely with local sleep medicine physicians. We will ensure that the prescribed treatment is in the best interest of our patients and their health.
Coastal Sleep & TMJ is your local resource in the Peninsula/Williamsburg area for diagnostic, personalized care for your sleep disorder. Our team is committed to working with you individually to evaluate your needs, coordinate the necessary diagnosis or sleep study, and follow up along the way to monitor your progress.
Dental sleep medicine focuses on treating sleep-related breathing disorders using oral appliances. Sleep medicine is commonly referred to as oral appliance medicine due to the appliances used as treatment. Every patient receives a custom-fitted appliance to wear when they go to bed. These appliances last years and may even last a lifetime. At our office, Dr. William Harper can assess your sleeping habits and fit you for a custom appliance to help alleviate sleep-related breathing issues.
The Importance of Quality Sleep
Conditions like sleep apnea have more consequences on your life than you may realize. When you leave this untreated, it continues to get worse, and the effects get more severe. Sleep is critical for you to continue to function normally in your everyday life. Too little sleep can compromise your job, education, and just socializing with friends. It can mess with your brain and cause detrimental health problems, too.
With sleep apnea, you wake up multiple times throughout the night, even if you don’t realize it. You can think that you’ve gotten eight hours of sleep but still wake up feeling tired and groggy. You’re tired throughout the day, and you’re at risk of falling asleep while driving or sitting at your desk at work. Over time, people with sleep disorders are more likely to suffer from depression. Your memory may be affected too. Sleep is important for our brains to process information and remember things.
There are various health problems a lack of sleep can cause, too. People with sleep apnea are likelier to have high blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Your blood oxygen is lower, but your blood sugar is higher, making diabetes harder to manage if you have it. The immune system is weaker, so you’re more prone to all sorts of different infections. And you have an increased risk of vascular problems like stroke and heart failure.
What is dental sleep therapy?
Dental sleep therapy is the practice of treating patients who struggle with sleep-related breathing issues. Dental sleep therapy uses COAT (Continuous Open Airway Therapy) to treat issues such as sleep apnea and snoring.
How long does an oral appliance for sleep apnea last?
On average oral appliances for sleep apnea last anywhere from one to two years. Some patients may need an early replacement, but this is fairly rare. After a year or two, the appliance typically wears down and becomes slightly less effective.
What does CPAP stand for?
CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. It is one of the most common treatments for OSA(Obstructive Sleep Apnea). A CPAP machine is a very effective treatment for sleep-related breathing disorders. However, it is not the only option. Many patients are now discovering the benefits of oral sleep devices that are much smaller and less bulky.
How can dentists help with sleep apnea?
Dental sleep medicine uses oral appliances to treat snoring and sleep apnea. Our office can help assess the severity of your sleep apnea and treat it to reduce symptoms.
Can I cure my sleep apnea?
CPAP and oral appliances can effectively treat sleep apnea, but they’re not cures. The only way to cure sleep apnea is by losing weight or undergoing surgery to remove excess tissue from the throat.
Do tongue stabilizers work?
Studies have shown that tongue stabilizing devices may decrease snoring by up to 68% in some patients. These devices work on a case-by-case basis. If you are interested in or think you may benefit from a tongue-stabilizing device, call our office today to schedule a consultation.
We are proud to be one of the leading providers of sleep apnea services in the area. If you want to learn more about our offerings, please schedule an appointment today. Alternatively, you can give us a call and speak with one of our team members directly. We look forward to hearing from you soon!