By Progressive Dental Solutions
July 10, 2017
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a growing epidemic in our US adult population. Current research indicates that it is a very underdiagnosed and undertreated malady. Less than 5% of those who actually have OSA have been diagnosed and successfully treated1. Obesity (BMI greater than 30)) has been shown to be the underlying cause in half of the cases. But there are numerous other risk factors for the condition that must not be overlooked. It is hardly just the overweight male with an 18 inch neck who snores loudly that can be afflicted with sleep apnea. I have treated many a patient who-on the contrary- is as “skinny as a bean” but for other anatomic characteristics that effect their breathing airway during sleep are just as susceptible.

Some of the “classic” risk factors for OSA are loud,disruptive snoring, large tongue,undersized upper and/or lower jaw, droopy and loose soft palate, neck size greater than 17 inch in men and 15 inch in women and nasal breathing limitations which often cause habitual mouthbreathing. The use of alcohol and sedative medications like xanax, valium and the like -especially in the evening hours-that relax and collapse the supporting muscles of the airway are considered lifestyle risk factors for sleep apnea. In addition, apneics may have one or more characteristic subjective symptoms such as unrefreshing sleep,excessive daytime sleepiness and lack of alertness, witnessed breathing stoppages and gasping episodes during sleep observed by their bed partner, and reduced dreaming (REM sleep). Physiological symptoms may include high blood pressure,acid reflux, nocturia (frequent nitetime bathroom visits), irregular heart rate including atrial fibrillation and pulmonary hypertension.

Like many other medical conditions, individuals can complete self-screening to help determine if they may be at risk for OSA and need to followup with an evaluation by a health professional. If clinical evaluation supports subjective screening then referral for diagnostic testing to confirm or rule out sleep apnea is in order.

The “gold standard” for assessing daytime sleepiness is the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS). The scale scores one’s tendency to doze off in various passive and slightly active situations. A score of 10 or higher warrants clinical followup.

0 = no chance of dozing
1 = slight chance of dozing
2 = moderate chance of dozing
3 = high chance of dozing


Sitting and reading
Watching TV
Sitting inactive in a public place (e.g a theater or a meeting)
As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break
Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit
Sitting and talking to someone
Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol
In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic

To check your sleepiness score, check total points shown above.

Other simple self screening tests like the STOP-BANG or the SLEEP Observer’s Scale can similarly support the need for followup by a health professional.

A research study showed that OSA was two times the risk factor than smoking and three times the risk factor than high blood pressure and obesity for heart attack2. Other recent information indicates that untreated severe sleep apnea results in five times the number of cancer deaths for those with all types of cancer3 . If you suspect that yourself or a loved one may have obstructive sleep apnea based on the information above a self-screening may be the first step you take in saving yours or their life.


By Progressive Dental Solutions
June 16, 2017
Category: Oral Health

If you have sleep apnea or you are a chronic loud snorer, find out how a special oral device could help.oral applance therapy

Does your partner complain that your snoring is keeping the whole house up? Has a sleep specialist recently diagnosed you with obstructive sleep apnea? If so, then you may be surprised to hear that our Pittsburgh area dentist Dr. Michael Hnat could actually help treat your sleep apnea symptoms and your unbearable snoring through something as simple as a custom-made oral appliance.

Why do you need to treat sleep apnea?

A lot of people have sleep apnea but don’t even know it. They chock up their daytime exhaustion to drinking too much caffeine, not enough caffeine, not getting enough sleep or (more commonly) stress.

Of course, if you find yourself feeling exhausted despite a sufficient amount of rest, then you may want to see a sleep specialist to find out if something more is going on. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Not to mention that your extreme fatigue could lead to poor performances at work and even accidents.

How can oral appliance therapy help me?

If you have been diagnosed with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea then you ca be re-evaluated by our Pittsburgh dentist to find out if oral appliance therapy is all you need to manage your sleep disorder and wake up feeling refreshed and alert.

While CPAP therapy is the standard treatment for sleep apnea, it can be annoying to wear a facemask all night long. You may find that the noise of the machines keeps you up. So if CPAP therapy isn’t giving you the sound, quality sleep you thought it would, then it might be time to come in and talk with or schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Michael Hnat, board-certified in dental sleep medicine, about your snoring, sleep apnea, and the alternative treatment with an oral appliance. He is dedicated to making sure that you get the care you need to finally get a good night’s sleep. If you are dealing with any of these sleep problems, give us a call and schedule your consultation today.

By Progressive Dental Solutions
July 21, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ  

Find out how our Pittsburgh dentist can treat TMJ disorders.

There are many ways to treat symptoms of TMJ disorders to reduce pain and discomfort. While many people will notice their symptoms disappearing over time there are others who may need to really work with our Pittsburgh general dentist Dr. Michael Hnat to get the TMJproper treatment they need. Find out more about splint therapy and how it works.

What is a dental splint?

A dental splint goes by a lot of other names like night guards or mouthpieces. They can be made from either hard or soft material and they can cover all of your teeth or only certain teeth. Splints can be used for a variety of different conditions including sleep apnea, but dental splinting has also been known to help alleviate jaw problems due to TMJ disorder.

How do dental splints work?

Because dental splints help the jaw muscles relax, it can reduce facial tension and also reduce jaw problems caused by teeth grinding or jaw clenching. If your TMJ disorder is a result of your teeth grinding, wearing a dental splint can prevent wear and tear on your teeth and reduce the chances of tooth pain and sensitivity.

If your bite isn’t aligned properly your Pittsburgh dentist may recommend a dental splint to help adjust your bite to reduce the amount of strain and pressure that is being placed on your facial muscles.

What types of dental splints are available in Pittsburgh?

There are two types of splints to choose from: stabilization splints and repositioning splints. Stabilization splints are most often worn to prevent both teeth grinding and jaw clenching. These splints can be made from either hard or soft materials and are designed to cover all of your teeth. These splints are most often worn while you sleep.

Repositioning splints are used to reposition the jaw forward to improve your bite and to take pressure of certain muscles and ligaments. These types of splints are worn all day long.

Want to find out if splint therapy is the right treatment option for you? Then it’s time you called our Pittsburgh dental office. Let Progressive Dental Solutions help you achieve amazing oral health time after time.

By Total Health Dentistry
March 28, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ   jaw pain  

Jaw pain can be more than just a source of minor discomfort. It can develop to a point where eating or even talking becomes a major jaw painchallenge. It can even cause headaches and ear discomfort. Jaw pain is often caused by a condition called TMJD of temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder. If you’ve been struggling with this problem to any degree, you’ll be happy to learn that simple solutions may be available at Progressive Dental Solutions for Sleep and TMJ, your Pittsburgh dentist's office.

What Causes Jaw Pain?
Dentists aren’t sure about exactly what causes jaw pain and TMJD, but there are theories. Here are a few potential causes that you can investigate with your dentist:

- A previous injury to the jaw or head.
- An overbite or underbite that’s putting pressure on the joint that connects the jaw.
- Bruxism (clenching and grinding the teeth at night).
- Arthritis.
- Chewing gum too much.
- An occupation or recreation that requires you to yell or shout often, which puts strain on the joint over time. 

Dentists have found that jaw pain is most common in women ages 20-40 years old, which may suggest a hormonal factor.

Treatment Options
Your Pittsburgh dentist can help relieve or reduce your jaw pain with simple treatments. These are a few of the most common solutions:

- Dental splints or bite guard
- Orthodontic treatment to correct the jaw’s position.
- Medication to give you relief as the joints heal.
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the jaw.

In rare cases, dental surgery may be required to either get a better look at the cause of the jaw pain (arthroscopy) or to replace the joints.

Preventing Jaw Pain
You can take actions at home to prevent problems with jaw pain in the future. Consider these simple suggestions:

- Avoid opening your mouth too wide (as you may do when shouting).
- Stop grinding your teeth at night by wearing a night guard to bed, which are available at your dentist’s office.
- Eat healthy foods that promote bone health, like dairy and dark leafy greens.

Call for Help with Jaw Pain
You don’t have to continue to struggle with jaw pain. Call Progressive Dental Solutions for Sleep and TMJ in Pittsburgh at (724) 942-5630 to schedule an appointment and get the treatment you need.

By Total Health Dentistry
January 14, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Snoring   Sleep Apnea  

Is a CPAP the Only Way to Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea? Now your dentist can help with snoring and sleep apnea.

You’ve been told you snore by those closest to you. You often wake up in the middle of the night, gasping and choking for air. You wake up with a dry, sore throat, and sometimes with a headache, and find yourself dozing off during the day. You have been diagnosed with Sleep Apnea sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea results from soft tissue at the back of your throat collapsing during sleep. This soft tissue blocks your airway, and stops your breathing for short periods. When you can’t breathe, your brain and organs are starved of oxygen. Oxygen starvation can lead to organ failure, memory difficulties, heart failure and stroke.

You’ve tried to wear a continuous positive air pressure machine, called a CPAP, but you’ve found it very uncomfortable, restrictive and you stopped wearing it. Now, you’re looking for something else. Fortunately, there is another solution. Dr. Michael Hnat, of Progressive Dental Solutions for Sleep and TMJ in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, can provide you with a wonderful state-of-the-art remedy for snoring and sleep apnea.

Dr. Hnat will design an Oral Mandibular Advancement Appliance, custom-made for you. The dental appliance fits over your lower and upper teeth, and it causes your lower jaw to shift forward slightly, just enough to keep your airway open. The result is you will sleep soundly throughout the night and wake up refreshed and ready to start your day.

Sleep apnea patients throughout the country have received much needed relief from snoring and waking up, gasping for breath. Patients report the oral appliance is much easier to wear than CPAP. So if you are tired of your CPAP and are looking for a better way to treat snoring and sleep apnea, give Dr. Michael Hnat a call. He is your sleep apnea specialist in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Call today and sleep better immediately!

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