Suffering From Chronic Snoring?
Loud snoring can be a nuisance that disrupts the sleep of your partner or can cause a sore throat or headache when you awaken. Often, snoring is more than an inconvenience. It could indicate a medical condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA.
What Is OSA?
As you fall asleep, muscles all over your body begin to relax – including those in your mouth and at the back of your throat. In some people, these tissues can block regular breathing.
Some people are more susceptible to OSA:
People over 40
While people with the characteristics above are more prone to OSA, anyone can suffer from it – including kids.
Lifestyle choices such as alcohol and smoking may increase your risk of developing OSA. Certain medications also increase your risk.
Health Implications of Obstructive Sleep Apnea
OSA disrupts normal restorative sleep cycles and the body does not get the oxygen it needs to stay healthy. Lack of oxygen negatively impacts every system in the body and can result in serious health conditions including:
High blood pressure
Early cardiac death
Worsening of ADHD
Additionally, OSA can cause daytime drowsiness, making it dangerous to operate a vehicle and difficult to concentrate or stay on task. Lack of restful sleep may dramatically diminish your quality of life because you never feel fully rested, even with eight hours in bed.
Treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Proper diagnosis of OSA typically requires a sleep study and analysis from a qualified sleep practitioner. We refer patients for an at-home study with CleveMed for your convenience. After the analysis is complete, your sleep specialist will recommend treatment based on the severity of OSA.
Patients often receive a recommendation for CPAP (continuous positive air pressure) therapy, which delivers a steady flow of air throughout the night to keep your air passage open. Air is delivered through a face mask worn during sleep. Most CPAP machine warm air and add humidity for increased comfort.
Unfortunately, many people find this line of treatment cumbersome and difficult to adjust to. This sometimes results in patients pulling off their masks during sleep in order to get comfortable or opting not to wear it at all. This leaves them without the treatment they need to stay healthy.
Oral Appliance Therapy for OSA
At our Arcadia, CA dental office, we offer a convenient alternative treatment called oral appliance therapy. Dr. Maria Kim designs a custom night guard designed to gently guide the lower jaw forward during sleep. This forward positioning removes loose tissue and the tongue from the back of the throat to prevent it from blocking your airway while you sleep.
Not only is this treatment easier for patients to get used to, it also makes traveling more convenient and is silent, unlike the CPAP machine, which makes a rhythmic noise throughout the night. Although there are a few over-the-counter appliances you can purchase at drug stores or even online, remember that these oral appliances are not FDA approved for sleep apnea. When not fitted properly, over-the-counter appliances can cause unwanted side effects, such as jaw problems or tooth movement and can even have the opposite effect and inadvertently worsen sleep apnea.
Since custom-made oral appliances are adjustable, your dentist will work with you to maintain your jaw position by continuously monitoring your progress. It is important to maintain a prescribed follow-up schedule with your dentist to ensure the device is working, fitting properly and that you see an improvement in your symptoms. It usually takes only a few days to adjust to wearing the oral appliance all night while sleeping. Your dentist will review the details with you as well as the best way to maintain your oral appliance.
Oral appliance therapy is approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for the treatment of mild to moderate OSA; however, if you have a severe form of sleep apnea, another alternative may be required.
Snoring Relief with Oral Appliance Therapy
Even if you did not receive a diagnosis of OSA, you can enjoy a better night’s sleep, and so will your partner, when you opt for oral appliance therapy to quiet snoring.
Are You Ready for a Good Night’s Sleep?
What our office can do: Prescribe a 2 night at home sleep study with Clevemed. We do not bill medical insurance for the sleep study. For the apnea device we can work with most insurances.
Contact us to schedule a consultation with Dr. Maria Kim. She will help determine if oral appliance therapy will provide you with the restorative sleep you need to stay healthy.
We work with many medical insurance plans (with the exception of Kaiser) to bill for your sleep apnea device using iSalus for fast payment of benefits.