Sleep Apnea Treatment


Although it quite often goes undiagnosed, sleep apnea is a very common disorder which involves a pause in breathing or shallow breaths being taken while you sleep. These pauses can last for seconds or even minutes and can occur many times throughout the night. After these episodes, breathing will go back to normal and can often lead to the affected person making gasping or loud snorting sounds. The result is poor sleep for themselves and for their partners.


How Can I Spot The Signs?

Generally, snoring is not uncommon and is certainly nothing to worry about. But loud snoring, especially when accompanied by daytime fatigue, may be a sign of sleep apnea.

If you suffer from sleep apnea the snoring will often be significantly loud and happen almost every night, and for hour after hour. It can be disruptive to others, and may even wake you up repeatedly.

When you wake, it temporarily relieves the problem, but as soon as you fall asleep, it’s going to repeat itself again and again. In a given night, a sleep apnea sufferer may wake more than 200 times!


Why Is It Important To Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

When your breathing is irregular it results in a poor quality of sleep as well as a less than ideal amount of sleep that is needed for you to feel rested. This can affect aspects your daily life such as diet, fitness, and concentration. It can lead to irritability, moodiness and even depression. Sleep Apnea can bring about complications that can be dangerous to your health. It can cause high blood pressure, liver problems, heart disease and can even lower your immune system. It leaves you exhausted during the day and can lead to sleep deprivation, which raises your risk of having accidents.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea and it occurs when the soft tissue in the back of the throat relaxes during sleep and blocks the airway. This causes loud snoring and pauses in breathing as air struggles to squeeze past the blockage.

Because this is a disorder that is often overlooked, it’s important to recognize the symptoms so you can be accurately diagnosed and treated. This condition is difficult to diagnose, so you must tell your doctor if you suspect that you are suffering from sleep apnea. Blood tests do not reveal this condition and doctors are not able to spot it during regular examinations. In most cases, sleep tests are needed either in a clinic or at home. With the right treatment you can control the symptoms of sleep apnea and the effects it can have on your well-being.


How Does An Oral Appliance Help Snoring Or Sleep Apnea?

A comprehensive evaluation of your condition will be carried out and if it reveals that you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, we can treat this by offering a custom-designed oral appliance.

The appliance can help to prevent any airway collapses by supporting your jaw and keeping your airway open at all times. It will hold your lower jaw in a slightly forward position while you sleep, increasing the size of your airway, and making sure it remains open and free from resistance.

Before having the appliance made, we will use a mold to shape the specific contours of your teeth and gums. Your sleep apnea mouth piece will be custom-made and designed just for you. You will soon notice an improvement in your quality of sleep and you will be feeling more refreshed and alert during the day.


How Long Do The Appliances Last?

Under normal circumstances, our appliances will last from 2 to 5 years, depending on the type of appliance used.

How Long Does It Take To Adapt To The Appliance?

Given that the appliances are customized to you, the amount of time needed to adapt will be determined after your own comprehensive evaluation.

Does My Insurance Cover Appliance Treatment?

Dental insurance typically does not cover oral appliance treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. However, many medical insurance policies will cover this kind of treatment device. Please note that medical insurance does not cover treatment for snoring only. Check with your insurance carrier to determine the level of coverage you may receive. 

What Are The Possible Side Effects?

As with any type of medical or dental treatment, complications are possible. Given the risks that are attached to leaving sleep apnea untreated, most side effects with using an oral appliance are very mild in comparison.

The main side effects of this form of treatment are tooth discomfort because of your appliance putting pressure on the teeth or jaw joint discomfort due to the jaw being moved slightly forward. Any discomfort from these potential side effects is not long-lasting and is often seen by patients to be a small price to pay for treating your sleep apnea.

Drummond Sharp and his staff through their friendly, high quality, and professional care have made my dental office experience as positive and as pleasurable as it can be. I am treated as though I am the only patient in the practice.

Robert M. Alexander
Rock Hill, SC