Oral Appliances for Sleep Hygiene and Obstructive Sleep Apnea:
Snoring is a common problem and can be cumbersome for both those affected individuals and their loved ones. We specialize in designing oral appliance that custom fit into a person’s mouth that can significantly limit the frequency of snoring as well as the loudness of each snore. As such, oral appliances can have a significant impact on an individual and their family’s lifestyle.
Snoring, however, may be indicative of a far more insidious disease entity known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by multiple episodes of shallow or paused breathing during sleep due to collapse of the tissues in the upper airway (i.e. the back of the throat). Those affected actually have choking episodes in the middle of the night! Consequently, sufferers of OSA do not get enough oxygen throughout the night and do not get quality sleep. Throughout the day, they suffer drowsiness, mental “fog”, irritability, headaches, decreased attentiveness.
Further, these repetitive episode of low oxygen levels cause build up of inflammation in the body and have been linked to diverse diseases such as diabetes, stroke, heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, and various lung disorders. In short, OSA can prove fatal. Just by treating OSA alone, the risk of stroke, heart attack, choking, and aspiration can be severely reduced and there can be significant improvement in chronic disease states like high blood pressure.
OSA can be treated by a wide variety of treatments including weight loss, decreasing alcohol/tobacco use, and positive air pressure masks that push air through your nose or mouth to keep your throat open to prevent it from collapsing. Sometimes, a more desirable treatment rather than positive pressure, which can be uncomfortable for many people, is applying an oral device that will assist in keeping your airway open throughout the night. These oral appliances are safe and effective and offer patients suffering from OSA a great deal of relief, especially if positive pressure has proved too uncomfortable for them.
Recognizing OSA as a serious and severely impactful health issue, Dr. Sharma has undergone specialized training with internationally renowned leaders in the field to deliver custom fit oral appliances to patients with OSA. It is also the mission of her office to screen for OSA and identify patients that may benefit from investigation by a sleep specialist to possibly diagnose this severely underdiagnosed condition as early a possible in select individuals so that, whether they would benefit from an oral appliance or not, they receive the appropriate treatment necessary to prevent downstream cardiovascular complications like heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and arrhythmia.
Dr. Sharma has completed the mini residency, a 6 month long training from the prestigious University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. She is a ‘Qualified’ dentist to treat patients with obstructive sleep apnea. She is very passionate about dental sleep medicine and she continues to take several hours of continuous education courses every year to keep her skills up to date.
A consultation with Dr. Ratika Sharma will help you understand the risks, symptoms, and treatment options for this commonly misunderstood condition. Book an appointment now !