LEMOYNE, Pennsylvania (WHTM) – A Cumberland County dentist is working to raise awareness about a sleep disorder treatment that is growing across the country.
Dr. Becky Fox is one of only 30 doctors in the state who offer oral devices for the treatment of sleep apnea.
Your patients say technology gave them back their lives.
CDC study shows association between obesity and COVID-19 hospital admissions
“When they diagnosed me with sleep apnea, that grounded me,” said Rand Wickham, who lives in Etters.
It prevented Wickham from flying, something he has been doing since he was 17.
The airline pilot’s medical certificate was withdrawn after the diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Sleep & the biological clock
Traditional treatments didn’t work, but an oral appliance helped.
Wickham’s snores and tiredness vanished from the window, and his oral appliance became the first in his trunk.
“It pushes your jaw out to keep your tongue from receding and blocking your airways, which is causing the apneas,” said Wickham.
Google enters sleep monitoring with a new Nest Hub screen
“The jaw cannot fall back any further than we have placed the appliance,” said Dr. Fox practicing in Lemoyne.
Dr. Fox says when you hear about sleep apnea you often think of surgery, or CPAP, which involves blowing a stream of air through your throat.
Penn State researchers are developing Amazon Alexa Skill to help breast cancer patients
Custom-made oral appliances are also becoming a popular alternative.
“You are covered by your health insurance, not your dental insurance,” said Dr. Fox.
Experts estimate that more than 22 million Americans have sleep apnea, but 80% of moderate or severe cases go undiagnosed.
If left untreated, the disorder can have serious consequences.
“It can lead to heart disease, obesity and stroke. they are now even associating it with Alzheimer’s, ”said Dr. Fox.
“I haven’t slept,” said Linda Caton, a Carlisle resident. “I also had some palpitations.”
York Improves Mental Health Response With New Bracelets
Caton is a member of the most commonly misdiagnosed group of sleep apnea: middle-aged women.
She says an oral appliance changed everything overnight.
“I was really surprised at how much better I sleep at night, how much better I could breathe at night,” said Caton.
Dr. Becky Fox describes how oral appliances work differently than traditional treatments for #sleep apnea. Her patients include a pilot who was able to fly again because of the device & a soldier who was unable to use CPAP because it was used in remote areas with no power pic.twitter.com/l4WWg6GAgN
– Priscilla Liguori (@ PriscillaABC27) May 7, 2021
As for Wickham, he can prove he is airworthy because the device has a chip that stores data and shows that the treatment is working.
“It made me fly and do what I love,” said Wickham.
Survey Shows Lancaster Student Mental Health Challenges Increase During COVID-19
Dr. Fox tells us that a soldier who could not use CPAP because it was used in remote areas with no electricity also benefited from an oral appliance.
Because there are only a limited number of dentists certified to treat with the devices, the American Board of Sleep Medicine has an online search facility that patients can use to find a provider nearby.