Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
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Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Breathe Easy Again at Kessler Dental Associates

Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Dr. Lon R. Kessler, DMD, D.ABDSM is the Founder of Kessler Dental Associates and Phoenixville’s Better Sleep Solutions. A Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine, Dr. Kessler is one of the region’s foremost experts on Oral Appliance Therapy for the treatment of Snoring, Sleep Apnea and CPAP-Intolerance. Dr. Kessler is a Main Line Today and Suburban Life Magazine Top Dentist and the Pottstown Mercury Readers Choice Top Sleep Apnea Dentist 2017, 2018 and 2019.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep ailment that happens when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing continually during their sleep, in some instances this can occur hundreds of times in one night. Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes.
Sleep apnea is usually a lasting condition that disrupts your sleep and as a consequence you spend more time in light sleep patterns and less time in deep, restorative sleep. This eventually leads to excessive daytime tiredness.
What are the Three Primary Types of Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

The most common form of sleep apnea. It is usually caused by a blockage of the airway when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

Central Sleep Apnea

This is a less common type of sleep apnea that involves the central nervous system. In this instance, the brain fails to signal the muscles that control breathing.

Complex Sleep Apnea

This is a combination of both obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

What are the Symptoms?

It can be difficult to properly diagnose sleep apnea, since the most prominent symptoms occur when you are sleeping. But you can find out by asking a bed partner to observe your sleep habits, or by recording yourself during sleep.
Sleep apnea symptoms can include:

  • Pauses while you snore, at times choking or gasping can follow these pauses
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning or intermittent headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Loss or difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability, depression and mood swings
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon wakening


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What are the Risks of Sleep Apnea?

An estimated 1 in 5 adults suffer from mild to moderate OSA and 1 in 15 from moderate to severe OSA*. Up to 80% of these cases are never diagnosed. Awareness of OSA and access to treatment is a widespread health problem, one with potentially life threatening consequences for millions of people. For these reasons it is crucial that anyone experiencing the following symptoms be screened and tested for sleep apnea. Early intervention can prevent progression of the disease and improve overall health, while reducing other problems.

  • Excess weight: Fat deposits around your upper airway can obstruct your breathing
  • Neck circumference: People with a thicker neck may have a narrower airway
  • Narrowed airway: You may have inherited a naturally narrow throat, enlarged tonsils or adenoids may also block your airway
  • Gender: Men are twice as likely to have sleep apnea than women
  • Age: Sleep apnea occurs more often in adults older than 60
  • Family history: If you have family members with sleep apnea, you may be at increased risk
  • Race: If you are under the age of 35, African Americans are more likely to have OSA
  • Alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers: Usage of these substances relaxes the muscles in your throat
  • Smoking: Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than people who have never smoked
  • Nasal congestion: If you have difficulty breathing through your nose due to an anatomical problem or allergies, you’re more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea

If you think you may have sleep apnea or are suffering from any of the symptoms listed above, please schedule an appointment or contact us today.

CPAP Alternatives
At Kessler Family Dental, we offer CPAP alternatives to the CPAP mask using oral appliance therapy (OAT)
91 percent of sleep apnea patients treated with a dental appliance for sleep apnea were still using their appliances comfortably at the end of one year.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
At Kessler Family Dental in Phoenixville, oral appliance therapy (OAT) is a proven alternative CPAP treatment option for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, and those patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) who are unable to tolerate CPAP machines. While continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy is generally the first line of treatment for sleep apnea, many patients prefer an oral appliance as a CPAP alternative.
What is an Oral Appliance?
Our dental sleep oral appliance is a small plastic device that’s placed in the mouth and is worn similar to a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer. Oral appliances, worn during the night, help prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat allowing for adequate air intake by keeping the airway open.
Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other treatments for sleep related breathing disorders, such as CPAP therapy, weight management or even surgery.
Who is a Candidate for Oral Appliance Therapy?
  • Patients with mild OSA who do not respond to, or are not appropriate candidates for treatment with behavioral measures such as weight loss or sleep-position change
  • Patients who are non-compliant with CPAP, or refuse CPAP treatment
  • Patients who are not candidates for tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, craniofacial operations or tracheostomy
What are the Different Oral Appliance CPAP Alternatives?

Oral appliances can be classified by mode of action or design variation. Nearly all oral appliances fit into one of two categories:

  • Tongue Retaining Device: Tongue retaining devices are custom made for each patient and hold the tongue in a forward position by means of suction. When the tongue is in a forward position, the tongue is less likely to collapse during sleep and obstruct the airway in the throat. This type of device is mostly used for patients with dentures or patients who cannot adequately advance their lower jaw.
  • Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD): Mandibular advancement devices are custom made for each patient. They advance the tongue and soft tissues of the throat to open up the airway, while also repositioning the lower jaw to restore normal breathing during sleep.
What are the Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy?
  • Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear
  • Non-invasive form of snoring and sleep apnea therapy
  • Significantly improves sleep apnea symptoms including oxygen saturation and daytime sleepiness
  • Oral appliances are small and convenient for travel
  • Higher compliance rates than with CPAP

It will take several nights of wearing the device before you grow accustomed to it. Over time, most patients tolerate their devices quite well and experience significant improvements in snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
If you are interested in Oral Appliance Therapy, please schedule an appointment or contact us today.

Common Snoring and Sleep Apnea Questions
How can you stop sleep apnea?

Easing the effects of sleep apnea first begins with pursuing an accurate diagnosis. Sleep apnea requires a professional sleep study for diagnoses. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, patients can then pursue different treatment options by consulting with medical professionals.

Many patients seek treatment from oral health professionals. Kessler Dental Associates provides treatment for sleep apnea and obstructive snoring with oral appliances. Oral appliances are custom made, mouthguard-like components that slightly hold the lower mandible (jaw) forward to increase the diameter of a patient’s airway. Since malocclusions contribute to airway obstruction, treatments like restorations and orthodontic care can also improve airway health. Lifestyle and dietary changes can improve a patient’s symptoms as well – especially if one is overweight, smokes, or drinks.

When developing a person’s treatment plan for sleep apnea, our team takes an array of factors into consideration to promote effective and comfortable relief.

What are the causes of sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is directly caused by tissue surrounding the soft palate collapsing into the back of the mouth, blocking the airway. A number of underlying issues can contribute to sleep apnea. Beyond lifestyle habits like smoking and excess weight, issues with jaw alignment and the development of bulky throat tissue contribute to sleep apnea, too.

Our team at Kessler Dental Associates provides oral appliance therapy for the treatment of sleep apnea. In addition to oral appliances, we might recommend lifestyle and dietary changes to improve airway health as well.

Is an oral appliance an effective sleep apnea treatment option?

Oral appliance therapy has become a popular treatment method for sleep apnea because it is effective, comfortable, and convenient. Oral appliances for managing sleep apnea are worn similarly to mouth guards. They are custom made so that they fit comfortably.

These oral appliances decrease airway restriction by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward, which widens the airway. Many patients prefer oral appliances to other treatment options because they are discreet, comfortable, and portable.

While oral appliance therapy is well-received by sleep health professionals and patients alike, there are instances where other treatment protocols like corrective surgery and CPAP therapy could be more effective. Our team develops custom treatment plans based on the unique needs of the individual.

Is untreated sleep apnea dangerous to someone's health?

Researchers have studied the effects of untreated sleep apnea on health. Various studies have pointed to an increased risk for cardiovascular and pulmonary health problems among people with untreated sleep apnea. It appears that the erratic breathing present during sleep apnea could weaken the heart. Oxygen levels can also be affected by erratic breathing.

Sleep deprivation is another way that untreated sleep apnea could negatively affect a person’s health. Episodes of apnea disrupt a sleeper from progressing through stages of sleep without interruption. This affects one’s ability to achieve healthy, genuine rest. Sleep deprivation affects many aspects of health, including immunity, cellular regeneration, and cognitive abilities.

We Are Here For You

At Kessler Dental Associates, our goal is to provide you with exceptional dentistry in a calm, state-of-the-art, caring environment.