Sleep Apnea Treatment & Snore Guards

Many people (and their bed partners) are affected by two conditions that often exist at the same time on the same people: snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Snoring can cause a decrease in sleep efficiency, throat irritation, and loss of sleep from a bed partner. OSA is a condition in which the airway is blocked to the point that you stop breathing and/or your sleep is disrupted 5 or more times an hour. 30 times or more an hour is considered severe OSA.

Severe sleep apnea raises the risk of dying early by 46 percent1

The gold standard for treatment of this condition is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) ventilator. For some people, A CPAP is uncomfortable or intolerable. In these cases, an oral appliance can be made to open the airway up and keep you sleeping more efficiently. This same type of appliance can be used to treat snoring in someone who snores but doesn’t have OSA.

1 Hopkins Medicine Study

Possibly. The cause of snoring and OSA are the same: a narrow, collapsible airway. OSA is diagnosed by a sleep study done at home or at a sleep lab.  A sleep study collects a lot of information, including what positions you sleep in, how much you snore and how loud (if your snore), and if your breathing is affected while you sleep, and how badly. If you do have OSA, an oral appliance can potentially be made to open your airway and stop/reduce the sleep/breathing interruptions, which is confirmed with a second sleep study with the device in place. If the results of the sleep study reveal that you snore but do not have OSA, an oral appliance can still be made to open up your airway, treat your snoring, and potentially improve the efficiency of your sleep.

Oral appliances for OSA can be filed to your medical (not dental) insurance, pending approval from your insurance provider. Oral appliances for snoring in patients without OSA can be made, but are generally not covered by medical insurance. The first step is to be evaluated for OSA and have a sleep study done. If the results of the test are that you have OSA, the required paperwork is filed to your medical insurance for approval before the device is made.

The following are some of the potential symptoms and the reason(s) why they are related to OSA.

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness / lack of energy / irritability (lack of quality sleep)
  • Snoring (narrow, collapsible airway)
  • High blood pressure (increased heart rate and blood pressure when sleep is interrupted)
  • Acid reflux (negative pressure in the esophagus from excessive abdominal contractions in an effort to take in air)
  • Headaches (lower oxygen levels, sleep pattern disruptions)
  • Diabetes (changes in blood sugar metabolism resulting from long term lack of sleep)
  • Sexual dysfunction (blocked airway = less oxygen = less nitric oxide production = narrowing of arteries = decreased blood flow to all areas of the body)

If you have one or more of these it doesn’t 100% mean you have OSA, but you should get a sleep study to rule it out. An estimated 18% of men and 8% of women between ages 30-70 suffer from some form of OSA1. If you have been told your snore, or have any of the above conditions, contact us at AdVance Dental to get evaluated for this serious medical condition.

  1. National Healthy Sleep Awareness Project, American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Sep. 2014
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