Aspen Dental Sleep Medicine

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The Sleep Apnea Medical Dental Connection

You may have asked me or yourselves, "How do you choose a dentist to help treat a patient's obstructive sleep apnea?" Or you may have asked, "What is a dentist doing in the medical arena of sleep medicine?" Good questions.

Busting the Sleep Apnea Obesity Myth


Congenital narrow oral and cranial facial anatomy directly affects the oral pharyngeal airway, its collapsibility and oxygen desaturation, even from birth. A dentist can prevent airway collapsibility with a custom adjustable mandibular advancement device. It's a "myth" that only the obese have sleep apnea. The tall, thin, narrow and petite are big targets for OSA and UARS. Combination therapy, of CPAP (which most patients remove at the danger point of late morning during the atonia of REM) with an oral device (which patients statistically do not remove), can directly improve REM AHI hypertension. An above normal RDI also stresses the cardiovascular system and changes the sleep architecture.
Together with your physician we can prevent: A-Fib, high blood pressure, Diabetes II, dementia, etc. Many people move to altitude and their health changes. Gold standard sleep lab testing and a craniofacial comprehensive sleep exam will capture the false negatives, of pulse oximetry and home testing, and missed mild OSA diagnoses, due to insomnia, in our fit population.

Twenty years of my 30 years in private practice have been in dental sleep medicine. I am the only Western Slope dentist that has committed to this process of certification, with just over 300 dentists nationally.

Dentists should follow the definition of an effective oral appliance, appropriate follow up protocol, and be properly trained, 2015 Clinical Guidelines: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.