Sleep Dentistry

Improve your quality of life.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The benefits of sleep dentistry at Farmer & Williamson

Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing at night at varying intervals that last at least 10 seconds. This is problematic because breathing keeps us alive and healthy.

Sleep, and specifically stage 3 sleep or deep sleep, is when children secrete growth hormones. A lack of stage 3 sleep can result in children being in the lower percentiles of height and weight. Connections have been made with poor sleep and airways with ADHD as well.

REM sleep is when we imprint what we have learned that day onto the brain to remember it. A lack of REM sleep can result in poor memory and poor performance in school.

In addition, poor sleep is well connected to:

  • Car accidents
  • Mass transit accidents
  • A high prevalence of cardiac events and stroke
  • Always being tired and worn out during the day

Why Does My Dentist Care?

Dr. Farmer with an elderly patient

Your dentist cares because we often see the effects of sleep disorders in the mouth, including:

  • Worn teeth from clenching and grinding at night
  • Scalloped tongue
  • Inflamed uvula
  • Bony bumps on your jawbones in the mouth (called tori)
  • Dry mouth
  • Acid reflux on teeth

Do the sides of your tongue have scalloping on it, where the teeth make indentions in it? That’s another symptom.

Many people with sleep apnea have problems with headaches and TMJ problems. And many with TMJ problems have undiagnosed sleep apnea as well.

So, can a dentist diagnose sleep apnea?

No, we cannot. But what we can do is recognize signs for it, gather more information, and communicate with your primary care physician for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

Sleep Apnea Treatment

An Eccovision appliance that measures nasal and pharyngeal airway adequacy

Once you have a diagnosis of sleep apnea, the treatment of choice for children is to remove the tonsils and adenoids and then widen their dental arch with orthodontics.

For adults, the primary method of sleep apnea treatment is a CPAP. That’s the gold standard for moderate to severe sleep apnea and the best treatment.

However, your physician may approve you for oral appliance therapy if you:

  • Have mild sleep apnea
  • Only comply with CPAP therapy half of the night
  • Have tried CPAP therapy and couldn’t comply with it

Sleep Apnea Treatment Helps In Many Ways

Rest & Relaxation

No more waking up tired despite getting eight hours of sleep! You’ll finally get the rest you need to take on your day.

Prevention

Sleep apnea treatment reduces your risk of developing major health problems, such as depression, heart attack, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.

Relief

Thanks to treatment, you’ll stop snoring, giving you and your partner a good night's sleep! Therapy will ease your symptoms and allow you to start feeling well-rested.

Oral appliance therapy

A collage of oral sleep appliances

At Farmer & Williamson, our protocol for patients who are undiagnosed but have signs and symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing is first to gather data:

  • A written survey is done online at home
  • A Pharyngometry and Rhinometry with the Eccovision is performed to measure your nasal airway and pharyngeal airways with sound waves
  • We evaluate your TMJs and take some 3D radiographs

In some cases, we may send you home with a home sleep test. It fits on your wrist and is very simple.

After that is evaluated by a Kansas board-certified sleep physician, we’ll share our findings with you and with your primary care physician to go over treatment recommendations for you.

Sleep apnea is a big deal and potentially fatal long before your family is ready. We take it very seriously!

Call us for a consultation today if you or a loved one snores, is often tired during the day, is on more than one medication for hypertension, or has acid reflux. Any of these alone is concerning!

A collage of oral sleep appliances
‘‘We have been going to Dr. Farmer for almost 25 years. We have always found Dr. Farmer and his staff to be very honest and open about our dental care. They will work with you to make sure that your care is what’s needed and affordable. We enjoy all of the staff at Farmer & Williamson.’’

Tony V., 5-Star Google Review

FAQs About Sleep Apnea Treatment

  • Who is sleep apnea treatment for?

    This treatment may be perfect for you if you:

    • Constantly snore
    • Grind your teeth at night
    • Are often tired during the day
    • Are on more than 1 medication for hypertension
    • Have acid reflux
    • Are prone to headaches
    • Have TMJ pain, or TMD

    We can also spot signs of sleep apnea in your mouth. If you have:

    • Dry mouth
    • A scalloped tongue
    • Bony bumps on your jawbones in your mouth

    Contact us to schedule an appointment.

  • What if I’ve already tried a CPAP?

    If you’ve already tried a CPAP and you’re unable to wear it successfully, the protocol is slightly different.

    We’d ask you to obtain:

    • Your most current sleep study copy
    • A prescription for an oral appliance from your physician
    • A statement of CPAP non-compliance/tolerance, which we can provide for you

    You’d still go through all of our protocols so we could best predict how successful you’d be in an oral appliance.

  • Does insurance cover sleep apnea therapy?

    The really good news here is we file all of this sleep apnea treatment under your medical insurance plan. If your physician determines and our findings suggest you would respond well to oral appliance therapy, then your health insurance typically will pay for that as well (subject to deductibles and co-payments).

Stop Losing Sleep

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