What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by the repeated interruption of breathing during sleep, which can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. There are different types of sleep apnea, but the most common one is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This type of sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, causing snoring, gasping, or choking.
Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to manage sleep apnea, and dentists play an important role in helping patients with OSA. In fact, many dentists have received specialized training to diagnose and treat sleep-related disorders, including sleep apnea. In dental offices, oral sleep apnea devices are made to help patients with this condition.
How Do We Treat Sleep Apnea?
At our office, we provide comprehensive care for patients with OSA. Our first step is to conduct an initial consultation with patients who complain of clenching or grinding teeth, snoring, or those who have been previously diagnosed with sleep apnea. During this consultation, we take a detailed medical history, including any symptoms the patient may be experiencing, as well as any medications they may be taking.
We also refer patients to sleep physicians to get a sleep study done. A sleep study is a diagnostic test that is used to evaluate a patient’s sleep patterns and identify any sleep-related disorders. Based on the results of the sleep study, the physician may prescribe a specific treatment plan, which may include an oral appliance.
Once the patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and as per the physician’s prescription, we are able to make custom oral sleep apnea devices. These devices are designed to help keep the airway open during sleep, reducing the risk of snoring and apnea episodes. The devices are custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth, ensuring optimal comfort and effectiveness.
We evaluate if the patient is a good candidate for an oral device. Some factors that we consider when determining candidacy include;
- the severity of the patient’s sleep apnea
- the patient’s age
- overall health status
Oral appliances are usually recommended for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea, but they may also be suitable for some patients with severe OSA.
For patients who cannot wear CPAP devices, an OSA device is a good option. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is another treatment option for sleep apnea, but some patients find it uncomfortable or have difficulty adjusting to the mask. In such cases, an oral appliance can be a great alternative. The device is easy to use and does not require a power source or mask, making it a convenient option for patients who frequently travel and cannot carry CPAP devices.
We also check with the patient’s medical insurance to see if they cover the cost of OSA devices. Many medical insurance policies cover the cost of oral appliances for sleep apnea, but coverage varies depending on the policy. We also provide medical billing services to help patients navigate the insurance process and ensure that they receive the maximum coverage possible.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition that can have significant negative impacts on a person’s health and quality of life. Dentists play a critical role in helping patients with OSA by providing custom-made oral sleep apnea devices. These devices are a safe, effective, and convenient alternative to CPAP therapy, making it easier for patients to manage their condition and enjoy restful sleep. If you are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.