Snoring frequently accompanies sleep apnea but it is not always an indicator of whether this sleep condition is present. However, snoring can indicate that bulky throat tissue could potentially obstruct airways – especially if patients have certain lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep apnea. Fortunately, the treatment we offer for sleep apnea and snoring is the same. By prescribing a custom oral appliance, the diameter of the airway can be widened to prevent the sounds of snoring as well as episodes of apnea. These oral appliances are soft and comfortable to wear. They work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward so that the airway is no longer obstructed.
Anyone of any age can have sleep apnea. Even though snoring can accompany sleep apnea, it is not always a symptom of this sleep disorder. For this reason, it is important to have a sleep study conducted to determine if apnea is occurring. If during your consultation it is suspected that you may suffer from sleep apnea, we will assist you in ordering a convenient and accurate home sleep test designed to assist in the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing. In the comfort of your own bed, you’ll wear the testing device while sleeping. A Board Certified Sleep Physician will interpret the data and we will contact you to discuss your results.
The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different for each person. Anyone can develop it, regardless of age or gender. The most common risk factors include:
While CPAP is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people cannot tolerate the discomfort of the mask and the inconvenience and noise of the machine. Therefore a high percentage of users have difficulty or will not wear them.
An oral appliance is a popular alternative to the CPAP. This device is small, portable, fits more comfortably and can provide similar treatment benefits.
You will have a follow-up sleep study while using your oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device. A consultation with the sleep medicine physician will be necessary to interpret the results.
Because insurance plans vary widely, our experienced team will work with you to see if your insurance company will cover the oral appliance. If for any reason it isn’t covered, we will let you know and work with you to develop a financial plan if needed.
If coverage is available for oral appliances, it will come from your medical insurance carrier. Most dental insurance companies do not cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
Our patients tell us it is well worth the investment of their time and money to treat their sleep apnea because of the improved quality of life they experience.
We offer financing options and will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs.
The majority of patients will adapt to the appliance within 5-10 days. It will take a few days to get used to having a device in your mouth while you sleep. The appliance will not hurt your teeth. If your teeth are sore after initial use, we can easily adjust it for your comfort.
They are made of hard acrylic, which is very durable. They are typically replaced every 3-5 years depending on wear and tear. If you grind your teeth, you may have a more frequent rate of repair or replacement.
A change in your bite is possible. Depending on the position of your teeth and the status of your bone, your teeth may shift. This can be minimized with the use of a morning re-positioning device.
The most common side effect is morning muscle soreness that usually goes away after a short time. Some patients may experience either dry mouth or excessive salivation. As mentioned above, minor tooth movement occurs in some patients.
Obstructive sleep apnea is unlikely to decrease with age; therefore your oral appliance will probably be a lifelong therapy. However, certain wellness factors such as significant weight loss may improve your symptoms.
While there are over-the-counter appliances you can order, keep in mind these are not FDA approved for treating sleep apnea. Additionally, when not fitted properly they may cause unwanted side effects such as jaw problems or excessive tooth movement.
Dr. Amy Shoumer feels so strongly that knowledge and action can improve and save lives that she is offering a no-cost individual 30-minute consultation on sleep breathing disorders. Whether it’s loud snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, make sure you are not at risk for this very treatable, potentially life-threatening condition. Learn more about sleep apnea and get all of your questions answered. We have a limited number of consultation times available, so schedule yours as soon as possible.