WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea is periodic and frequent cessation of air flow while sleeping due to airway constriction. Airway obstruction does not allow for adequate airflow to the brain and body and this will cause health issues such as: high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, memory loss and cognitive impairment. Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a common medical problem that is under diagnosed. If you snore and have high blood pressure or excessive daytime sleepiness- it may be time to see your doctor or dentist for more information.
WHAT OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE FOR TREATING MY SNORING OR SLEEP APNEA?
Medical and Dental treatment options for snoring and sleep apnea include: positional therapy, CPAP, oral appliances, and surgery.
HOW DOES THE APPLIANCES WORK TO HELP MANAGE SNORING/SLEEP APNEA?
An oral appliance is a small plastic device that fits over the upper and lower teeth, similar to an orthodontic retainer or mouth guard. The appliance is worn in the mouth during sleep to prevent the soft tissue of the airway from collapsing and obstructing the airway. Oral appliances work by slightly advancing the lower jaw which in turn moves the base of the tongue forward and pens the airway to allow improved breathing and reduced snoring and apnea during sleep.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE APPLIANCE?
If the problem is snoring only, the appliance is effective in approximately 85-90% of patients. When treating apnea, the appliance is 60-80% effective, depending on the severity of the apnea. The appliance tends to be more effective for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, although we have had success treating cases of severe apnea.
HOW DO YOU CONFIRM THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ORAL APPLIANCE?
Patients with moderate or severe sleep apnea must have a follow up sleep study while using the oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device. During the follow up sleep study, the jaw position on the appliance can be adjusted to increase treatment success.
HOW LONG DO THE APPLIANCES LAST?
Under normal circumstances, the appliance generally last 2-5 years, but many will last much longer than 5 years.
DOES MY INSURANCE COVER APPLIANCE TREATMENT?
Since insurance plans vary widely, we work all our patients to help them obtain reimbursements from their insurance carrier to the maximum allowed by their plans. Most insurance companies have coverage for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea with an oral appliance. Insurance companies generally do not cover treatment for snoring only. If coverage is available for oral appliance, it would come from the medical insurance carrier. Most dental insurance companies do not cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. We encourage you to call your insurance provider. We are happy to send information to your insurance company regarding your situation to request a determination of benefits.
HOW MANY VISITS ARE REQUIRED?
After the initial consultation, there may be 3-4 appointments within the first six months. Thereafter, you will be placed on an annual or semi-annual recall.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO ADAPT TO THE APPLIANCE? WILL IT HURT MY TEETH?
95% of patient’s will adapt to the appliance within 2-7 days. It will take a few days to adapt to having the device in your mouth during sleep. The appliance will not hurt the teeth. If your teeth are sore after initial use, we can easily adjust it for your comfort.