- What is Sleep Apnea and How Can Dentists Help?
- Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea
- Health Benefits of Snoring Prevention Dental Devices
- Other Treatment Options
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a disorder in which a person stops breathing during the night, perhaps hundreds of times.
What is Sleep Apnea and How Can Dentists Help?
Gaps in breathing while sleeping are called apneas. The word apnea means absence of breath. An obstructive apnea episode is defined as the absence of airflow for at least 10 seconds.
Sleep apnea is usually accompanied by snoring, disturbed sleep, and daytime sleepiness. People might not even know they have the condition.
Dental Appliances for Sleep Apnea
Oral appliances, also called dental appliances or devices, may be an option for patients who cannot tolerate CPAP. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends dental devices for patients with mild-to-moderate obstructive sleep apnea who are not appropriate candidates for CPAP or who have not been helped by it. (CPAP should be used for patients with severe sleep apnea whenever possible.)
Several different dental devices are available. A trained dental professional such as a dentist or orthodontist should fit these devices. The most effective device is the Mandibular Advancement Device. Patients fitted with this devices should have a check-up early on to see if it is working; short-term success usually predicts long-term benefits. It may need to be adjusted or replaced periodically.
Mandibular Advancement Device
This is the most widely used dental device for sleep apnea. It is similar in appearance to a sports mouth guard. MAD forces the lower jaw forward and down slightly, which keeps the airway open.
Medical and Dental Insurance companies will oftentimes provide coverage for sleep apnea dental devices through Beautiful Dentistry, especially if there is a supporting prescription from the medical doctor for sleep apnea.
Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
Sleep Apnea products and services provided through Beautiful Dentistry can be expensed to a Flexible Spending Account.
0% Interest Rate & No Fees Financing
Beautiful Dentistry Porcelain Veneers, like other cosmetic dentistry procedures, can be financed through Beautiful Dentistry’s in-house program with CareCredit or SpringLeaf. If your dental bill is:
- $500 or less, you can get 6 months same as cash at 0% interest and no fees.
- up to $2000, you qualify for 12 months same as cash at 0% interest and no fees.
- over $2000, you qualify for 18 to 24 months of no interest and no fees financing based on the amount.
Health Benefits of Snoring Prevention Dental Devices
Eliminating or Reducing Symptoms of Snoring
The effects of snoring at night can follow people into the morning. People with sleep apnea will have a night of heavily disturbed sleep, and may even compromise the sleep of their partners. The effects of a poor night’s sleep include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Impaired emotional or mental functioning
Other Treatment Options
Here are some suggestions that might help a person maintain a low-risk sleeping position:
- Sew a small pocket to the back of the pajamas and place a tennis ball or other small ball into it.
- A special pillow that helps to stretch the neck may reduce snoring and improve sleep for people with mild sleep apnea.
- Sleeping in an upright position may improve oxygen levels in overweight people with sleep apnea. Elevating the head of the bed may help.
All patients with obstructive sleep apnea who are overweight should attempt a weight-reducing program. Weight loss certainly reduces snoring and apnea/hypopnea episodes in many people, sometimes stopping it completely. It also improves sleep and significantly reduces daytime sleepiness.
Cessation of Smoking & Alcohol, and Avoiding Certain Drugs
- Smokers should quit, since smoking worsens apnea
- Alcohol should be avoided within 4 hours of sleep
- Avoid sedatives and sleeping medications