With growing awareness of obstructive — sleep apnea and its potential for complications, an increasing number of people are seeking out treatment. While the most common treatment is a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) device, The Koala Center for Sleep Disorders offers a more comfortable approach to treatment through the use of custom dental appliances. The national chain has just announced the opening of a new office in Albuquerque, NM where they welcome Dr. Eric Coontz, a dentist with 35 years of experience, including work in the U.S. military, the private sector, and public health.
"Many patients come to me because they want to stop snoring," said Coontz, "but in fact, they have a more serious underlying condition than they realize. Snoring is often a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems. With sleep apnea, the patient actually stops breathing because the air passage gets blocked when the throat muscles relax." Coontz went on to recount his own struggles with sleep apnea that likely resulted in the heart attack he suffered some years ago. This experience motivated him to focus his practice on helping patients overcome sleep apnea.
Coontz described the process of evaluating and treating patients with the disorder. He begins by examining the patient's airways and tissues of the nose and throat, using high tech imaging equipment. Once a diagnosis is made, a dental appliance is custom-made to fit the patient's mouth. The appliance repositions the lower jaw, tongue, and soft palate so that the airway remains open even as muscles relax in sleep. "I've had patients who tried to buy a dental appliance off the shelf at a drug store," Coontz comments, "but those are useless at best. I can't emphasize enough the importance of an individualized treatment."
In addition to sleep apnea, Coontz treats patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, which can also negatively impact sleep. It occurs when the joint slips out of position and can cause pain in the jaw, neck and head. One of the methods he uses is Transcutaneous Electric Neural Stimulations, or TENS. This method involves a painless current of electricity that relaxes tension and relieves pain in the jaw, allowing the doctor to find the natural position where the jaw should rest. A custom dental appliance known as a neuromuscular orthotic is then used to stabilize the jaw.
Coontz brings not only a wealth of knowledge about dental sleep disorders, he also brings equipment found in only one hospital in the state of New Mexico. "I'm pleased to join Koala Sleep Centers here in Albuquerque," concluded Coontz. "I'm happy to be working with a group that shares my passion for saving lives through treating sleep disorders."
About The Koala Center For Sleep Disorders
The Koala Center For Sleep Disorders specializes in treating sleep apnea, TMJ, snoring, and all sleep disorders. Their appliances are a comfortable alternative to CPAP machines, and they are customized for each patient. The center accepts all insurance including Medicare.
Name: Dr. Eric Coontz
Email: Send Email
Organization: Koala Center for Sleep Disorders
Address: 831 San Pedro Ave NE, Suite 3 Albuquerque, NM 87113
Release ID: 118610