Dental Sleep Appliances

Are you Tired of Being Tired?

Snoring and sleep apnea are major factors that can negatively affect your sleep quality. We can help by fabricating custom dental sleep appliance which opens your airway by moving your jaw forward. This may be covered by your medical insurance.

Signs of Sleep Apnea

  • Snoring
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Waking up tired
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue
  • Waking up gasping for air at nig
  • Acid reflux when you sleep
  • Morning headach
  • Forgetfulness
  • Mood swings
  • Grinding teeth during sleep

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is a common disorder, affecting approximately one person in five, in which there are pauses or shallow breaths during a person’s sleep. The pauses are usually caused by a blocked airway. Sleep Apnea can cause a person to stop breathing for a few seconds, or minutes, or more… and these pauses can occur from 5 to more than 30 times an hour! Sleep Apnea often goes undiagnosed and can have significant health ramifications. Additionally, sufferers of Sleep Apnea are usually snorers, who disrupt the sleep of their bed partners as well.

Sleep Apnea is diagnosed by the use of a sleep study, which may be performed at a sleep clinic, or even at home. During a sleep study, the clinic monitors the patient’s breathing, heart rate, and brain patterns to evaluate quality of sleep, documenting the number of events of obstructed breathing that occur. These events result in low blood oxygen, a jolt of adrenaline at the end of the episode (which increases heart rate and blood pressure), and ultimately a disruption of the patient’s sleep. Sleep may be so disrupted that the deeper stages of sleep are never achieved.

Dreaming may never occur and restful sleep is never achieved. If you have Sleep Apnea, you may wake up often, feel tired, or fall asleep easily during the day. Sleep Apnea is often overlooked by physicians and may be responsible for many of the ills of both adults and children.

Who is at Increased Risk of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea may occur in anyone, even children, though the following factors increase the risk of obstructive Sleep Apnea:

Excess weight- Fat deposits around your upper airway may obstruct your breathing. However, not everyone who has Sleep Apnea is overweight.
Large neck circumference- A neck circumference greater than 17 inches in men and 16 inches in women are associated with an increased risk of obstructive Sleep Apnea. That’s because a thick neck may narrow the airway.
High blood pressure (hypertension)- Sleep Apnea is more common in people with hypertension, due to the stress that it places on the body’s inflammatory response.
A narrowed airway- If you have a naturally narrow throat, enlarged tongue, tonsils or adenoids they can block your airway.
Male- Men are twice as likely to have Sleep Apnea. However, women increase their risk if they’re overweight, and the risk also appears to rise after menopause.
Being older- Sleep Apnea occurs two to three times more often in adults older than 65.
Family history- If you have family members with Sleep Apnea, you may be at increased risk.
Use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers- These substances relax the muscles in your throat.
Smoking- Smokers are three times more likely to have obstructive Sleep Apnea than are people who’ve never smoked. Smoking may increase the amount of inflammation and fluid retention in the upper airway. This risk likely drops after you quit smoking.

Dangers of Sleep Apnea

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Worn teeth due to grinding
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexual dysfunction/impotence
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Learning difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Diabetes
  • Premature aging
  • Obesity
  • Sleep deprived driving accidents
  • Sudden death

Treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

dental sleep appliance made by Dr. Shapiro

The treatment of Sleep Apnea began in 1981 with the invention of the CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. This machine blows a stream of air through a mask worn by the patient, to keep the airway open during sleep. It works well, but unfortunately it is often poorly tolerated by patients. One third of patients who receive a CPAP machine don’t use it and those who continue use it for less than 5 hours a night.

Thankfully, additional treatment options are now on the market. The dental sleep appliance is designed to be worn at night and keep the airway open. Oral appliance therapy (OAT) has been gaining acceptance over the last 10 years, In September of 2008 the Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine issued the following statement:

“The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine supports new guidelines that identify dental sleep appliance therapy as an effective treatment for obstructive Sleep Apnea. The guidelines, issued by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and published in the February 2006 issue of the journal SLEEP, indicate that patients can use oral appliances as therapy for mild to moderate cases of obstructive Sleep Apnea or when continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is not a viable treatment option.”

A dental sleep appliance tends to be better accepted by patients then CPAP. The oral appliances are also quieter and easier to travel with. Some patients find that switching between a CPAP and oral appliance can make treatment more tolerable. Patients who have severe Sleep Apnea can use both a CPAP and oral appliance together. This allows the CPAP machine to be set at a lower pressure and this makes treatment more tolerable.

Dr. Shapiro works with you and your sleep physician to find the most appropriate way to treat your condition.

Medical Insurance, Medicare and the Dental Sleep Appliance

Medical insurance plans and Medicare often offer coverage for dental sleep appliances. Dr. Shapiro is a participating doctor in the Medicare insurance program. For more information regarding your insurance coverage, please call Diana at 631-265-2700.

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