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Inside Dentistry
August 2016
Volume 12, Issue 8


Improving Sleep Apnea Analysis and Treatment

Figure 1 and Figure 2 | Sleep apnea is becoming an important discussion topic in the dental office. As the health risks associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) become more evident, healthcare providers have an obligation to increase patient awareness. Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed and if left untreated, can result in an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, diabetes, arrhythmias, and atrial fibrillation.

There are several self-tests designed to screen for OSA (eg, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and the STOP-BANG Sleep Apnea Questionnaire). Both of these tools help determine if further evaluation is needed.

CBCT imaging is also extremely effective in screening for OSA, and the GALILEOS CBCT imaging system has greatly enhanced our practice’s diagnostic and treatment capabilities. Combining GALILEOS with the SICAT Air software highlights the airway three-dimensionally, allowing the clinician to evaluate and measure airway volume, view potential constrictions, and identify possible OSA sufferers. The software is quick and easy to use chairside, which facilitates an important conversation about possible snoring and sleep apnea with the patient.

Since we started treating sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy over 10 years ago, I am continually surprised by the number of individuals that have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, given a CPAP machine, and never use it. It is very rewarding when we inform these patients that there is another effective option to treat sleep apnea.

The SICAT Air software gives me the ability to evaluate and measure the changes in airway volume related to mandibular advancement prior to fabrication of the appliance to help determine the best jaw position. This eliminates a lot of the guesswork and is particularly informative to the patients as they can visually compare before and after airway changes, and understand the benefits of appliance therapy in the treatment of their OSA. From a practitioner’s standpoint, this information enhances our ability to more closely titrate the appliance to an effective jaw position, providing better treatment and enhanced airflow.

Along with the ability to determine the appropriate jaw position for the oral appliance, I can incorporate CAD/CAM data from my CEREC into the GALILEOS CBCT imaging and digitally send the information to SICAT to have the appliance fabricated. This digital workflow is smooth and efficient, has shorter turnaround times, and delivers a very accurate and well-fitting sleep apnea appliance.

Working with the GALILEOS CBCT imaging and the SICAT software has made my treatment of sleep apnea more predictable and effective, and I really love the digital workflow.

For more information, contact:
Dentsply Sirona Imaging

About the Author

Scott Pope, DDS, is a co-founder of CAD3D Academy and has over 20 years of private practice experience. He is an advanced CEREC CAD/CAM and CBCT trainer, as well as a beta tester with Dentsply Sirona and SICAT

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