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Does a partner or your family joke about your loud snoring? Snoring isn’t just an annoyance when it’s accompanied by excessive sleepiness during the day; you could have a serious sleep disorder which prevents you from getting enough oxygen. We encourage you to call our dental office so our dentist can help you get the revitalizing sleep you need with an oral appliance. He or she can also help with your snoring.
What’s Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) happens when your airway becomes blocked while you are trying to breathe while sleeping. The soft tissue in your airway relaxes to the point where you can’t get any air. This can last from a few seconds to up to a minute. You can breathe once your body wakes you up momentarily to stiffen the muscles surrounding the airway, but it’s an unconscious action and you won’t remember waking up. People with OSA have their sleep interrupted at least five times an hour, so they rarely stay in a REM sleep cycle. The poor sleep causes daytime fatigue and the oxygen deprivation is detrimental to your overall health as it increases your heart rate and blood pressure.
Can Sleep Apnea Symptoms Affect My Quality of Life?
The following symptoms can affect your life and the lives of those close to you:
- Disruptive snoring
- Making choking sounds in your sleep
- Daytime tiredness
- Memory problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Slower reaction times
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat upon waking
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
While these are the common sleep apnea causes, anyone can develop OSA, even children.
- Being overweight or obese
- Being 40 or older
- Having a thick neck
- Having large tonsils
What Type of Treatment Can I Get for Sleep Apnea in West Chester?
If you have mild OSA, our dentist may suggest you can modify your lifestyle. Modifications which can reduce or eliminate mild OSA include losing weight if you are overweight and sleeping on your side if you tend to sleep on your back. Our dentist will also see if you can benefit from an oral appliance for sleep apnea. Please call our office to make an appointment so our dentist can go over your symptoms with you and refer you for a sleep study if it’s necessary to evaluate the severity of your condition. For severe cases, surgery is an option, but only as a last resort.
What Is a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard?
It is an oral appliance which moves the tongue and lower jaw forward, which keeps the airway open. The mouth guard looks similar to the ones people wear for contact sports except it has hinges. Since the mouth guard fits over your upper and lower teeth, you cannot wear removable dentures. While you can buy less expensive OSA mouth guards, dentists do not recommend them as they can inadvertently make your symptoms worse.
Your dentist will make a mold of your teeth and send it off to a dental lab so they can fabricate your mouthpiece. Once the dental lab finishes fabricating it, the dentist will make sure it fits correctly for optimal results. If you’re interested in this non-invasive OSA treatment, please call our office to schedule an appointment. We see many of our patients change their lives with treatment for sleep apnea in West Chester. They can concentrate better and they don’t feel so tired during the daytime.
How Much Does an Oral Appliance Usually Cost?
Since your oral appliance is custom made after your dentist selects the one best for your needs, the cost varies. Having a health insurance policy which covers oral appliance therapy will defray some or all of the cost of your sleep apnea mouthpiece.
What Are the Main Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT)?
Most patients appreciate that an oral appliance is convenient and easy to maintain. You can take an oral appliance with you when you travel; packing a CPAP machine with the hose and mask isn’t so easy. A small oral appliance for sleep apnea in West Chester can help you get a restful night’s sleep without needing a noisy CPAP machine. Call us to learn more about the benefits of oral appliance therapy.
Can I Get My Health Insurance to Pay for OAT?
If you have health insurance which covers OAT, we can usually work with your insurance company. A medical doctor will prescribe the oral appliance and our dentist fills the prescription. Please check your insurance plan for specific coverage information.
If you sleep eight hours a night and still feel sleepy all day, call our office to request an appointment and learn how our dentist can be a valuable partner in treating OSA. We look forward to helping you sleep better.