Sleep Apnea Treatment in Groton, CT
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing the soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. Snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, irritability, fatigue and insomnia are all signs that you could be losing shut-eye to sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can be a potentially life threatening condition. It can increase the risk for other serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.
The traditionally prescribed treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. It involves sleeping with a face mask connected by tubing to a constantly running machine. Although CPAP is effective, up to half of patients don’t adhere to the treatment. Dentists can provide an alternate sleep solution with oral appliance therapy.
Dental sleep medicine is a growing segment of dentistry that focuses on managing snoring and sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy. An oral appliance is an effective alternative to the standard continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and mask. Dr. Malahias has been designated as a Diplomate by the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine. For more information about AADSM, visit www.aadsm.org
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that fits easily into your lifestyle. A dental oral appliance looks like a sports mouth guard and is worn only during sleep. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway, preventing sleep apnea and snoring.
Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a sleep physician, a dentist experienced in dental sleep medicine can make a custom-fitted oral appliance using impressions and models of your teeth. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans. Patients like it because it’s comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, convenient for travel and easy to clean.
Treating snoring or sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. Custom-fit oral appliances from Bridgeworks Family Dental Center can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.
Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy
Many patients prefer oral appliance therapy as a solution for living with sleep apnea. It provides them much improved sleep and offers the following benefits:
It can be hard to sleep with a CPAP machine and bulky mask. Patients often like oral appliances because they are comfortable and easier to wear, especially for those who change positions during sleep or snuggle their bed partner.
A CPAP machine may silence the snoring, but its constantly running motor might not help you or your bed partner sleep more soundly. Oral appliance therapy is a silent option that can minimize the symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, without making a peep of its own.
It can be difficult to travel with a bulky CPAP machine. A compact, lightweight oral appliance can help lessen your load.
It is super easy to care for an oral appliance. Just a toothbrush cleaning with mild soap will keep your appliance germ-free.
Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective alternative to CPAP. When patients consistently wear their oral appliance, they wake up each morning feeling refreshed.
If you have concerns about snoring and sleep apnea, it may be time to make an appointment. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, we can recommend a sleep physician to help get you started on your path to treatment. If you have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea, we can fit you with an oral appliance. Our team at Bridgeworks Family Dental Center is ready to answer your questions about obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sleep Apnea
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
Some of the warning signs of sleep apnea include feeling tired during the day, loud snoring, waking up gasping or choking, morning sore throats and headaches, and trouble concentrating. If you have a partner, they may notice that you have pauses in breathing during your sleep.
What can I do for sleep apnea besides CPAP?
CPAP therapy is not the only treatment option for sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy repositions the tongue and lower jaw to keep the airway open, preventing pauses in breathing. Other patients may be candidates for a surgical procedure that either removes or stiffens the tissue that blocks the airway.
What happens if sleep apnea is left untreated?
Untreated sleep apnea increases your risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular events, including heart attack and stroke. People with sleep apnea are also more likely to have mood disorders like depression and anxiety. Being sleep deprived affects your performance at work and puts you at a higher risk of a car accident while driving.
Does sleep apnea cause weight gain?
Yes, sleep apnea has been linked to weight gain. Obesity also causes sleep apnea, which means that gaining weight can exacerbate your symptoms.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed through a sleep study at a sleep clinic, an at-home sleep test, or by having a doctor examine your airway for excess soft tissue and evaluating your symptoms.
Does insurance cover sleep apnea dental appliances?
While plans can vary a great deal, most health insurance providers will cover at least part of the cost of oral appliance therapy.