Sleep Apnea Treatment: Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) in Grayslake and Kenilworth

Sleep Apnea Treatment
Sleep Apnea

If your sleep isn’t refreshing and you often wake up gasping for air, you most likely have sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans. You actually stop breathing until your brain screams for oxygen and wakes you up to breathe.

Our orthodontist and sleep apnea specialist, Dr. Sara Spector, is the dental director of the University of Chicago Sleep Apnea Team.

Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) Harmful to Your Health?

OSA is the most common form of the sleep disorder. Either your tongue falls backward or the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes, and then collapses, which is what blocks your airway. Your breathing stops for multiple seconds, which can happen five or more times an hour. You never reach the rejuvenating REM sleep cycle that you body needs.

While obesity is the primary cause of OSA, thin people may also have OSA.

What Causes OSA?

Sleep apnea causes include:

  • Obesity
  • Being over 40
  • Having a thick tongue
  • Having large tonsils
  • A large neck size
  • A family hertory of OSA
  • Sedative use

What Are Signs of OSA?

Sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Feeling tired all day
  • An inability to concentrate
  • Loud snoring
  • A pounding headache upon waking
What Are My Sleep Apnea Treatment Options?

Before you decide on a treatment, you need a diagnosis from a physician based on your sleep study results. If you have up to 15 apnea events per hour, you have mild OSA. Fewer than 29 apnea events indicated moderate OSA, and 30 or more is evidence that you have severe OSA.

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, stopping smoking and avoiding alcohol, will help with OSA symptoms as well as improving your overall health.

CPAP machines, when keep a continuous airflow are one option that unfortunately patients don’t always use. The CPAP machine requires that you wear a mask, which some individuals find uncomfortable. Other patients say that it makes them feel slightly claustrophobic.

Most OSA patients will tolerate a custom oral appliance for sleep apnea better than a CPAP mask. The oral appliance will come from a dentist, who will oversee your oral appliance therapy.

Surgery, such as a tonsillectomy or tongue reduction, is the last resort. Doctors do not like to perform a surgery unless the other options fail after having been tried for three months or more.

What Is a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard?

Mouth guards resemble retainers, although, they do come in different colors. They are custom-made by a dental lab using impressions of your teeth, so they are comfortable to wear. You can talk while wearing your mouth guard and drink with it in as well.

How Much Does a Dental Mouth Guard for OSA Cost?

The type of sleep apnea mouthpiece you need, the brand, and the number of adjustments needed to make the mouthpiece comfortable determines your cost. Contact us to schedule an appointment with our sleep dentist, who will evaluate your needs and give you an estimate of your total cost.

Is Oral Appliance Therapy Worth the Effort?

Yes, oral appliance therapy is worthwhile, especially when you consider the danger of being groggy all day. You are more likely to have a car accident or an accident at work if you’re tired and have trouble concentrating. Very little effort is required on your part for oral appliance therapy; all you have to do is wear your oral appliance every night and clean it as directed by your dentist.

Will My Health Insurance Cover a Dental Appliance for Sleep Apnea?

Most likely, your medical insurance plan will pay for oral appliance therapy. OSA is a sleep disorder than can put you at a significantly higher risk for serious medical conditions. Verify your coverage by checking your policy or calling your health insurance provider.

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