A common sleeping disorder that affects many patients in the Worcester community and surrounding areas is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that can have a negative impact on the quality of life. This particular condition can result in depression, daytime fatigue, the inability to concentrate, reduced memory and comprehension, and can even increase the risk for a variety of medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes. The condition is often difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be associated with other medical problems and the primary ones are only noticeable when the patient sleeps. Often a sleeping partner may clue an individual in that they may be having problems with their sleep due to excessive snoring, gasping while sleeping, and episodes where they stop breathing altogether. Patients will want to speak to a sleep specialist to have a sleep study done and get a proper diagnosis for the condition.
When patients have received a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea from their physician, they may be told that a CPAP machine should be used at night to keep the airways open and combat the problem. However, these devices are often uncomfortable and many patients do not comply with treatment, therefore putting themselves at risk for all the problems associated with this sleeping disorder.
Thankfully, there is another way to achieve a better night’s rest when obstructive sleep apnea is a concern. Dr. Stanley Levenson of Levenson Smile offers his patients an alternative known as oral appliance therapy. Oral appliance therapy uses a special oral appliance that is custom-made for patients and can help in realigning the jaw and keeping the tongue down, opening the airways and allowing patients to breathe throughout the night without any problems. Most patients who have tried both treatment options describe the specialized mouth guard as an easy, comfortable way of sleeping. This increases compliance and in turn, allows patients to get a good night’s rest without having to wear a cumbersome device.