It is estimated over 30 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and most go undiagnosed. Sleep apnea can cause individuals to stop breathing hundreds of times per night; sometimes lasting for several minutes. Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissues to block your airway. These blockages in breathing can lead to bigger health problems over time. Also, general sleepiness from waking multiple times a night can negatively impact other areas of your life, work, and relationships. Seeking treatment for your sleeping disorder will benefit your overall health and lead to positive life changes. Some form of treatment is always encouraged, as untreated obstructive sleep apnea can lead to other health consequences such as:
Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in adults. We can help by fitting a custom made oral appliance that repositions your lower jaw and prevents airway collapse while you are sleeping. An oral sleep appliance can be an initial mode of treatment, or an alternative to CPAP and other surgical options. Often, it can be used in combination with CPAP machines for a reduced more comfortable setting. Oral appliance therapy may be one option to treat your sleep apnea, primary snoring, or upper airway resistance syndrome. If your physician has diagnosed you with sleep apnea, your medical insurance likely has benefits toward a dental appliance. Albeit a general dentist, Dr. Fox is an In-Network Provider with many medical insurance companies. Our office will assist you with your plan coverage for minimal out of pocket expense where possible.
Prior to your initial appointment; Dr. Fox will review your most recent sleep study and begin coordinating care with your medical team to treat your sleep condition. Your first visit with our team includes: a thorough dental exam, TMJ and airway assessment, imaging, and review of alternative therapies. We will discuss the benefits and possible side effects of treatment with an oral appliance. Good dental health is critical to support the dental device. Dr. Fox reviews various appliances she works with so that we find the best fit for you!
Final appliance selection, dental impressions, digital scans, and bite position records will be completed at your second appointment. We then send the information to a certified dental laboratory to make a custom fit FDA approved dental appliance. It is best to receive care from a dentist who has had specific training in dental sleep medicine or is a Qualified Dentist or Diplomate of the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine.
Once we receive the appliance from the laboratory, we will make sure it fits properly, go over how to care for it, and your on going dental health. We may need to adjust the appliance over a few appointments.
Once your symptoms improve and your wearing the appliance comfortably, Dr. Fox will refer you back to your physician for re-evaluation of your obstructive sleep apnea. We will also see you on an annual basis for appliance checks and oral evaluation.
After receiving her dental degree from Temple University in 1997; Dr. Becky Fox has been treating dental patients in Central PA for over 20 years. Both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine recommend you seek care for an oral sleep appliance from a Qualified Dentist or Diplomate. In 2017 Dr. Fox became a Qualified Dentist and in 2019 she became certified as a Diplomate with the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. Dr. Fox received her dental sleep medicine training with Tufts University School of Dentistry in Boston, and has also completed all levels of the Mastery Program with the AADSM. She has taken over 250 hours of continued education specifically in the area of dental sleep medicine. She is a member of the AADSM, AASM, and PA Sleep Society. Currently, she is a member on the Annual Conference Committee with the AADSM. Dr. Fox maintains a general dentistry practice in addition to her focused interest in dental sleep medicine. “I enjoy working with other medical colleagues and their patients to assist them in providing an alternative treatment option for their sleep condition. Ideally, effective treatment will result in overall improvement with their health, and quality of life.”