Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea and Oral Appliance Therapy

What is Sleep Apnea? 

Sleep Apnea is a condition that causes an individual to stop breathing for 10 or more seconds at regular intervals during your sleep cycle at night. Hence, someone suffering from sleep apnea, may stop breathing for short periods of time, usually few seconds during their sleep. As a result, oxygen deprivation can lead to harmful effects in your body. Furthermore, most people do not have any memory of this happening due to being in the state of sleep.  Imagine, your body trying to fight oxygen deprivation all night long and then waking up to a day and calendar filled with things to get done! As a result, waking up feeling tired & not ready to take on the day or waking up with perhaps a mild or severe headache are some of the many indications that a sleep study be undertaken by the person facing these issues, in order to rule out possibility of Sleep Apnea. Also, the exhaustion that comes from not sleeping deeply through the night has been linked to an increased number of motor vehicle and work related accidents – an amazing five times more among sleep apnea sufferers.

Sleep apnea consists of many events occurring during our sleep of either Apnea (complete blockage of airway) or Hypopnea (partial blockage of airway). Each of these events cause physiological changes in your body and both of these events may be harmful depending upon the length of such events. Hence diagnosis is a great starting point in treating sleep apnea.

How to diagnose Sleep Apnea

As surprising as it is, there are many individuals who have this condition but are never diagnosed. Due to your body and brain undergoing oxygen deprivation over and over, night after night, it can lead to long-term effects including weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney failure, stroke, acid re-flux and heart failure. Most commonly, sleep apnea is diagnosed with the help of a sleep study. Sleep study can be done in a lab or at home. A sleep physician can recommend which type of sleep study is best suited for you.

Who does Sleep Apnea affect & what can cause it?

This serious condition can affect anyone from small children to seniors. However, you’re most likely to suffer from it if you’re a male, over 40 and overweight. A number of factors can cause this condition, including:

  • Allergies
  • Large tonsils and/or adenoids
  • Genetics
  • Enlarged tongue
  • Backward positioning of your lower jaw
  • Poor Posture – when awake or during sleep

All of these conditions can lead to the same result — a person sleeping with their mouth open in a position that doesn’t keep their airway open. Basically, you stop breathing at night over and over and your body is in overdrive to fight with this condition.

Sleep apnea can go undiagnosed. Please click on Sleep Health Test button to find out if you might be at risk

What are the most common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?

Snoring or choking

One of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea is loud snoring. However, not all individuals suffering from this condition are loud snorers. Snoring is more common with  hypopnea events however apnic events usually do not cause much snoring. Many individuals having this condition might be suffering from choking at night. At the same time, not everyone who is a loud snorer necessarily suffers from sleep apnea. If you live alone, this condition is likely to go unnoticed easily. Your bed partner might be able to assist you to find out if you occasionally snore at night.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is also linked to Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  More research is being conducted currently to find out exact relationship. However, severity of complications arising from high blood pressure are much higher in patients suffering with sleep apnea.

Memory Problems – Alzheimer’s/Dementia

American Academy of Sleep Medicine and American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine has published papers suggesting that sleep apnics have high risk of developing memory problems.

Daytime Tiredness

One other common symptom is daytime tiredness. If you are suffering from daytime tiredness along with unexplained troubled sleeping or suffering from headaches when you wake up, you might have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. A simple sleep health test questionnaire is an easy way to determine if you are at risk. Please click on this link to take a “Sleep Health Test“.


Diabetic control can be challenging in sleep apnea sufferers. There is definitely more research needed in this field, however, American Academy of Sleep Medicine has published many papers which suggest that sleep apnea sufferers are at higher risk for developing diabetes.

Social Problems – ADD, ADHD or Irritable Behaviour

Current research is suggesting that a few common behavioral problems could be related to Sleep Apnea.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP is an extremely effective therapy. The positive pressure of airflow opens the airway and therefore, you can breathe better during sleep.

Advantages of CPAP therapy:

  • CPAP can eliminate OSA in almost 100% of the cases.
  • Extremely effective treatment for OSA.

Disadvantages of CPAP Therapy:

  • Compliance statistics are very poor.
  • Even though masks are getting better, it is very difficult to sleep with a mask and tube.
  • About 60% people stop wearing CPAP within 1st year of use.
  • Difficult to travel with CPAP machine.


Oral Appliance Therapy

Consequently, Oral appliance therapy is a great alternative treatment option for sleep apnea. Recent changes in guidelines published by American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests that Oral Appliance Therapy may be prescribed as first line of treatment for mild to moderate sleep apnea. Oral Appliance Therapy should also be offered to individuals with severe sleep apnea who are CPAP intolerant. There are many FDA certified oral appliances available now for treatment of sleep apnea.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy:

  • Compliance statistics are high
  • Easy to use
  • Appliances can be customized based on your needs
  • Easy to travel with
  • Less Maintainence
  • No Noise
  • No electricity or plug-in required

Disadvantages of Oral Appliance Therapy:

  • May need replacement in a few years
Sleep apnea CPAP

sleep apnea and CPAP machine

Oral appliance therapy for Sleep Apnea

Oral Appliance therapy for Sleep Apnea

About our team and our philosophy to help you with obstructive Sleep Apnea

Avon Family & Cosmetic Dentistry is the general dental practice of Dr. Kumar, based out of Avon, CT serving entire Farmington Valley including Avon, Simsbury, West Hartford, Canton, Collinsville and other neighboring towns.  Using the latest technology and training, we specialize in providing the highest quality cosmetic, implant, restoration, laser, and sleep disorder dentistry. What really sets our practice apart is our commitment to our patients. As a result, you’ll find that our dental team is not just committed to oral health, but also to each patient’s comfort and overall well being. If you’re looking for more from your dentist, you’ve come to the right place.

Memberships and Training

Our team has received advanced training and continuing education on the dental management of sleep related breathing disorders. Most of all, we offer the latest cutting edge techniques and technology to ensure a positive experience and successful outcome for all of our patients. Dr. Kumar has taken hundreds of hours of advanced continuing education and maintains active memberships with the following organizations:

  • American Dental Association
  • Connecticut State Dental Association
  • Hartford Dental Society
  • American Sleep and Breathing Academy
  • American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
  • Spear Education
  • ICOI (International congress of Oral Implantologists)
  • Academy of GP Orthodontics


39 East Main Street
Old Avon Village
Avon, CT 06001
Phone: 860.674.0707
Fax: 860.678.8440


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