Cracked Root Treatment from Berkshire Family Dental Helps Older Gentleman Address CPAP Discomfort & Use Sleep Appliance

Patient Examination and Diagnosis:

This Berkshire dental patient case study involves an older gentleman who came to our dental practice in DC from Cleveland Park for a new sleep appliance. For years he had been provided with a CPAP machine, but failed to use it for various reasons, including discomfort. We determined that the primary issue was a tooth that was cracked at the root, thereby creating an unstable environment for the CPAP device.

Discussion:

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition in which the airways become blocked periodically while sleeping. This causes a person to partially or completely awaken throughout the night and results in non-restorative sleep. OSA has been linked to cardiovascular disease, and a medical examiner recently declared this condition as the cause of death of actress Carrie Fisher who had a heart attack at age 60.

Estimates ranged wildly, but it is believed that between 29 and 83% of OSA patients are non-compliant in their use of a CPAP device (using it less than 4 hours per night). In light of the growing understanding of dangers associated with OSA, researchers are experimenting with devices that correct the problem and are more likely to be used by patients. For mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea, a custom-fit dental device can be used.

Treatment and Results:

Due to the tooth being cracked at the root, the best option was to extract the damaged tooth and to insert a dental implant. Once the problem that was causing the instability was removed and replaced with a sturdy implant, we could fit the patient for a sleep appliance stays in place, allows for better sleep, and is comfortable to use. This, in turn, should reduce the risks associated with OSA and result in restorative sleep.