/ by UK HealthCare
When Danville native Linda Pike was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea in 2010, she was relieved to finally discover a name for the condition that had kept her from getting a good night’s rest for years.
Her troubles were far from over, though, because she had a tough time adjusting to conventional treatments. However, thanks to help from UK Dentistry, Pike is now finding it much easier to get a good night’s rest.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 18 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea. There are two types of sleep apnea – central and obstructive. Central sleep apnea is less common, and it is often associated with other conditions, such as stroke. Obstructive sleep apnea results from a repetitive partial or complete airway collapse that keeps air from reaching the lungs.
Sleep apnea can wreak havoc on the body. The condition has been linked to abnormal cholesterol, memory loss, high blood sugar and even an increased risk of heart failure. For Pike, chronic drowsiness affected her work performance and even her ability to drive.
After her diagnosis, Pike began using a CPAP machine, which increases air pressure in the throat to keep the airway from collapsing while inhaling during sleep. However, she found it difficult to adjust to sleeping with the machine, which requires wearing a face mask. In September 2017, she was referred to Dr. Thamer Musbah in UK Dentistry’s oral diagnosis division.
Dr. Musbah recommended oral appliance therapy as an alternative to the CPAP machine. Dental sleep appliances are customized, double-arched devices similar in appearance to mouth guards. The appliances work by slightly repositioning the jaw to keep the airway open during sleep.
Oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive treatment that requires very little change to a patient’s lifestyle. Additionally, oral appliances are quieter, easier to care for and more convenient for travel than traditional CPAP machines.
“After just a week, I noticed a huge improvement in my quality of sleep – that’s what encouraged me to stick with it,” Pike said. She tried three types of CPAP before making the switch to an oral appliance.
Oral appliance therapy is growing in popularity. Pike, like many others, prefers the comfort and convenience of wearing a smaller device. Since beginning oral appliance therapy, her quality of sleep has drastically improved.
“I would recommend this to anyone,” Pike said. “Prior to this, I was lucky to get three to four hours of sleep. Now, I sleep through the night.”