Sleep Apnea

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a type of sleeping disorder where soft tissues collapse in the back of your throat, sealing off your airway and blocking oxygen flow to your body.

If you have enlarged tonsils or your tongue tends to slip backward while you’re sleeping, it can further aggravate the issue without you even realizing it.

How Can an Oral Appliance Help?

Oral appliances are an effective way to manage obstructive sleep apnea. These FDA-approved medical devices position your lower jaw in a manner that prevents your tongue from slipping back and soft tissues from sealing off your airway.

This holistic approach naturally improves airflow to your lungs and may even eliminate the need for a CPAP machine.

How They’re Made

Prescription sleep apnea mouthpieces are designed from an impression of your upper and lower teeth. We send the models to our lab, which then creates the appliance. We’ll fit it to your mouth and monitor it for a short time to ensure it’s positioned in just the right manner.

Unlike other types of mouthguards, oral appliances for sleep apnea fit over your upper and lower teeth at the same time. Since they adjust the position between your upper and lower jaws, it can take a few nights to adjust to wearing or sleeping in them. Some of our patients see improvement as early as the first night’s use.

Advantages of Oral Sleep Appliances

Unlike noisy CPAP machines, dental sleep appliances are great for traveling. There are no hoses to clean, bulky equipment to manage and they’re extremely discreet. Some people swap out their CPAP machines for oral sleep appliances permanently. Others use their devices for traveling or at the same time as their CPAP.

Not everyone exhibits the same warning signs of sleep apnea. If you’ve yet to be diagnosed with a sleeping disorder, watch for these common symptoms and criteria:

  • Flattened, worn teeth
  • Large neck circumference
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • TMJ disorder
  • Earaches
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Narrow palate
  • Past orthodontic tooth extractions
  • Post-menopausal women

If you haven’t yet been diagnosed with a sleeping disorder, we can screen you for the symptoms during your exam. A medical doctor will need to make the formal diagnosis and then prescribe the appliance, which we then fill for you. Depending on who your physician is, you may be able to have a home sleep study conducted.

Although dental appliances made for sleep apnea must be fitted and delivered by a dentist, they’re not covered by dental insurance. However, as a medical-grade prescription device, they are usually included under your medical insurance benefits.

The key is to find a dentist who accepts medical insurance and has specific experience working with sleep apnea patients. Our office is able to coordinate claims on behalf of our patients through their health carrier, minimizing out-of-pocket expenses related to their care.

Better Sleep Could Save Your Life

Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk of a life-threatening heart attack or stroke. Our custom dental sleep appliances help eliminate the need for a bulky CPAP. Contact Juanita Bay Dentist today for more information.

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