New Sleep Apnea Approach Review - Giving to the Community

Sleep apnea, a breathing disorder that has plagued millions worldwide, can be even more harmful than originally believed. While some patients respond well to CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) masks, others find the devices’ nighttime use uncomfortable and do not wear it enough to produce the desired effect, according to Dr. David Potts, owner of Lake County Dental Care in Libertyville, Illinois.

Patrons wait outside for free dental care in Libertyville,, Illinois, where Dr. David Potts specializes in sleep apnea

Because patients with CPAP masks often don’t benefit, Potts said he and his team have perfected Oral Appliance Therapy, an alternative method to the often-cumbersome masks and frequently risky surgeries used to treat sleep apnea. 

Potts explained the device as a contraption that snaps onto the teeth to hold the tongue in place, avoiding airway obstruction.

 “The tongue is probably the most common obstruction for the mouth,” said Potts. “With this durable medical device, there’s much more compliance so it’s much more effective.”

Patients register for free dental care at Northern Illinois clinic

As yet another alternative for serious sleep apnea cases, Potts said Lake County Dental Care also offers a pacemaker-like device that features sensors to open up airways when they become obstructed.

Volunteer dentists perform cost-free procedures at Illinois clinic

“There are people who have central sleep apnea where the body is not recognizing that it’s not breathing,” Potts explained. “One of the real safety concerns is people who fall asleep while driving. There are lots of those kinds of things. It puts everyone in danger.”

Because of the prevalence of falling asleep behind the wheel, sleep apnea treatment is particularly important for truckers, Potts said. In fact, he explained, after a recent treatment for sleep apnea among truckers, hospitalizations among those truckers declined by 91 percent.

Potts said the importance of a proper amount of restful sleep on a regular basis couldn’t be underestimated.

Clinic Staff

“There are a tremendous amount of things that sleep affects,” Potts said. “For example, we transfer our short-term memory into long term memory while we sleep. It affects our weight and mood. The skin of people who don’t sleep well ages twice as fast.”

Dr. David Potts's clinic is working hard to develop better ways to treat sleep apnea

Potts also said proper sleep rejuvenates blood vessels, strengthens the heart and can decrease the risk of stroke and diabetes. .

Because Lake County Dental Care wants to reach and assist low-income adults, Potts said they inform these patient's through broadcast radio stations, churches, women’s shelters and food pantries. In fact, WGN Reporter Marcus Leshock spoke at length about Dr. Pott’s philanthropic efforts at the anchor desk during cross-talk. Potts said he was inspired to start the program in Illinois after a friend of his in Oklahoma started a similar program about eight years ago.

Dr. David Potts (right) and two Smiles From the Heart volunteers

“It went so well in Oklahoma,” he said. “It’s just been a really great thing to do.”

 

Clinic Staff

Photos: courtesy of Lake County Dental Care

More information can be found at the Lake County Dental Care website

 

 

 

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