Do you snore? Are you tired during the day? If your issues are due to Sleep Apnea, we can help!
Snoring and chronic sleepiness may be signs of a serious health problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Sleep Apnea has been linked to a number of serious health conditions including heart disease and stroke. Moreover, the louder you snore, the worse off you may be. A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine indicated that “louder snoring can be an indication of more severe obstructive sleep apnea”. In addition, your snoring affects your spouse’s sleep quality as well.
Another common symptom of sleep apnea is daytime sleepiness, caused by poor quality sleep. Fragmented sleep places significant strain on the body and relationships, affects job performance, and increases risk for automobile and work-place accidents. You may be surprised to know that 90% of people with Sleep Apnea don’t know they have it.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea occurs when soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses blocking the airway. This may occur 30 times or more an hour and cause the patient to stop breathing anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
Could I Have Sleep Apnea?
Common risk factors for sleep apnea include being overweight, having a large neck circumference, high blood pressure, having a narrow airway, having chronic nasal congestion, having diabetes, being male, family history, smoking, and excessive alcohol use.
It’s Just Snoring, Right? Is It Really A Big Deal?
Yes, it IS a big deal! Obstructive Sleep Apnea may lead to heart disease, heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, daytime fatigue, eye problems like glaucoma, complications with medications and surgery, morning headaches, mood swings, memory problems, feelings or depression, and nocturia (the need to urinate frequently at night). Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. You should be tested by a qualified medical professional to determine if your snoring is snoring only, or if it's snoring due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Oral Appliance Therapy
A custom oral appliance made by your dentist can effectively treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It works in two ways: by moving the tongue and jaw forward to create more space in the airway, and by holding the jaw forward, which provides support to the airway and soft palate. Unlike the generic devices seen on TV, a professionally-made custom oral appliance is comfortable, adjustable, and covered by many health insurance plans. Oral appliances have been approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and have proven to be as effective as CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure) for the treatment of mild to moderate Sleep Apnea.
Is this right for me?
To determine if you have Sleep Apnea, you should first see a sleep-trained dentist like Dr. Harper or Dr. George at Total Dental Care, or your general physician for screening. If the screening suggests that you may have Sleep Apnea, you will be referred to a sleep clinic or pulmonologist for a sleep study. The testing is covered by most health insurance plans. If the test reveals that you have severe Sleep Apnea, then Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is usually the best treatment. But if you have mild to moderate Sleep Apnea, the oral appliance is a great treatment option, and a consultation with a sleep-trained dentist is a good next step.
Will My Insurance Pay For The Oral Appliance?
If your sleep study determines that you do have Obstruct Sleep Apnea, then most medical insurance providers will cover some portion of the cost of a custom-made oral appliance.
Dental insurance does not pay any portion of a sleep apnea appliance. Although it does go in your mouth, it is being used to treat a medical condition, and so the medical policy is the one that may pay a portion of the cost.
Our Sleep Coordinator will help you determine what your medical insurance may pay, and what your out of pocket cost will be after you have your consultation with our doctor.
What’s The First Step?
Call us at 582-CARE to schedule a sleep consultation or to ask any questions you may have. Ask for our Sleep Coordinator, LeAnn McLain.