Sleep Apnea

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If snoring or breathing issues are getting in the way of a good night’s rest, sleep apnea dentistry can help.

It is estimated that 1 in every 15 Americans are affected by at least moderate Sleep Apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when you stop breathing properly while asleep. This can happen as many as 20 to 30 times in a single hour. Your body is awakened by your brain signaling your body to awake when oxygen levels to the brain become too low as a result of improper breathing. People who suffer from Sleep Apnea usually do not notice being awakened at night, because the time spent awake is very brief. Essentially this disorder stops your body from entering REM sleep or deep sleep. This causes the patient to often feel drowsy and fatigued

We invite you to learn more about our sleep apnea treatments by visiting:

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Sleep Apnea Patient Online Registration Form

What are the signs of sleep apnea?

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Loud snoring at night
  • Waking up at night short of breath
  • Snorting or choking sounds during the night
  • (indicating a restart of breathing)
  • Headaches upon waking in the morning
  • Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
  • Extreme drowsiness throughout the day

Are there different types of sleep apnea?

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: OSA is caused by the physical blockage of the throat. This is generally caused by the collapsing of the soft tissue at the back of the throat.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: CSA occurs when your brain is not sending the proper signals to your body to support a proper breathing cycle.

Some people suffer from a combination of both of CSA and OSA

What are risk factors for sleep apnea?

  • phod3Obstructive Sleep Apnea is more common in individuals over the age of 40.
  • You are at a higher risk for Sleep Apnea if you suffer from obesity
  • You are at a higher risk of having Sleep Apnea if you smoke, drink or use sedatives or tranquilizers.
  • A reoccurring family history of Sleep Apnea.
  • Central Sleep Apnea has been known to affect people with heart disorders,
  • Neuromuscular disorders, strokes, or brain tumors.
  • Central Sleep Apnea is more common in males

Is Sleep Apnea dangerous?

Sleep apnea is a serious medical problem, and if left untreated, it can lead to:

  • High blood pressure.
  • Increased risk of heart failure and stroke.
  • Diabetes.

If diagnosed with Sleep Apnea individuals should be weary about driving and avoid operating heavy machinery. Sleep apnea can cause complications with medication and surgery; sedation by anesthesia can be risky as can lying flat in bed after an operation. If you know or suspect you suffer from sleep apnea, let your family doctor know before taking prescribed medication or having surgery.

How is Sleep Apnea treated?

Treatments for Sleep Apnea depend on the severity of each individual case and the type of apnea. The typical treatment for severe Sleep Apnea prescribed by your sleep physician is CPAP therapy.

You may also reduce Sleep Apnea risk by:

  • Weight Loss
  • Avoid Tobacco Products
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat Healthy. Sleep deprivation leads to cravings for carbohydrates.
  • Sleeping on your side instead of your back. Develop a consistent sleep routine.
  • Tend to your allergies to make breathing easier.
  • Use of oral devices position the mouth in such a way that prevents throat blockage.

What should I do if I suspect that someone in my family suffers from sleep apnea?

Contact our practice, and Carpathian Dental Associates can refer you to a Sleep Apnea physician. The specialist may recommend a “sleep study” to diagnose the precise extent of the problem and can then prescribe appropriate treatment.

We provide an initial free consult to discuss treatment options available for you. We also suggest that your partner accompany you to this appointment, as it is usually the partner who sees the symptoms of sleep apnea. Many times the patient is unaware or in denial of the symptoms.

Could my child have Sleep Apnea?

If your child snores loudly, there is a possibility that he/she may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Approximately 1 to 4 percent of children are diagnosed with Sleep Apnea. Undiagnosed and untreated Sleep Apnea may contribute to daytime fatigue and behavioral problems at school. Sleep Apnea in children has been associated with delayed growth and cardiovascular problems. If you notice any of these symptoms please contact your pediatrician.

What are my options if I am unable to wear my CPAP?

Oral Appliance Therapy

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Oral Appliances are placed in the mouth and are worn much like an orthodontic appliance or sports mouth protector. They are worn during sleep to prevent the collapse of the tongue and soft tissues in the back of the throat so that the airway stays open during sleep. The appliances promote adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep in people who snore and have sleep apnea.

Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other means of therapy such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). Determination of proper therapy can only be made by joint consultation of our office and your sleep physician.

According to the guidelines of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, oral appliance therapy is indicated for patients with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is indicated in patients who are intolerant to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP).

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Does my medical insurance cover an Oral Appliance?

Many medical insurance companies will provide coverage for an oral appliance for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The patient must see a sleep physician and have a sleep study performed in order to receive a proper diagnosis. If the patient is unable to tolerate CPAP therapy, the sleep physician may prescribe an oral appliance. Each medical insurance company has its own guidelines regarding coverage.

Carpathian Dental Associates is now able to submit Oral Appliance Therapy to our Medicare eligible patients. We will need a sleep study from your sleep physician and a prescription for an oral appliance to submit a claim.

Diagnosing OSA

While qualified Dentists play an important role in treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Dentists are not permitted to diagnose Sleep Apnea.

Helpful links:

SnoringIsntSexy:
American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine
Recognizing and Treating Sleep Apnea Web MD
American Sleep Association
Sleep Apnea Harvard Medical Sleep Apnea Site
Shaq Attacks Sleep Apnea – YouTube Web Video of Sleep Apnea

A Testimonial From One of Our Sleep Apnea Patients

I recently had a sleep study that indicated I have Sleep Apnea.  My fear was that I would have to use a CPAP machine, and considering I have claustrophobia, that was not going to be a good option for me.  (I even need to take anti-anxiety meds before any scans that require machines that go over my face).  I went online to research options and read about an oral appliance called “The Moses”. 

On my next dentist appointment, I asked about it and scheduled an appointment with Dr. Bucker for a consultation.  He determined that this would be a good option for me to try.  It was an easy process. Dr Bucker is very educated and up-to-date on this appliance, so after the initial fitting and a few tweaks, I am successfully wearing the appliance every night, with no problems!  After wearing the Moses for a couple of months, I had another sleep study which showed great improvement.  My sleep doctor suggested that Dr. Bucker tweak it once more and he did.  I am happy to report, via my husband, that the snoring is almost non-existent!  I would certainly recommend the Moses for people with a similar problem and would highly recommend Dr. Bucker.  He made the whole process easy and painless!  Thank You to Dr. Bucker and the staff at Carpathian Dental who are all very attentive and caring!

Debby C.