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Sleep 

Apnea

It’s estimated that over 30 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and most of those are undiagnosed by a physician. Dental Sleep Medicine is a field that focuses on the use of oral appliance therapy to treat sleep related breathing disorders. A Qualified Dentist will work together with your physicians to identify the best treatment for your sleep disorder leading to improved health and quality of life.

What is sleep apnea? What can we do for you?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. Dentists pioneered the use of oral appliance therapy for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea and snoring in adults. An oral appliance is a device worn in the mouth only during sleep. A custom-fit oral sleep appliance is effective in treating individuals because it prevents the airway from collapsing by supporting the jaw in a forward position. If you have been diagnosed with mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or if you have trouble tolerating CPAP therapy or prefer an alternate treatment for sleep apnea, talk to us. 

Why get treatment for a sleep disorder?

Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important to your health. If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to:

high blood pressure | heart disease | diabetes | acid reflux | disruptive snoring | erectile dysfunction | chronic fatigue

daytime sleepiness | depression | memory loss | morning headaches | driving & workplace accidents

How is OSA diagnosed?

Only a physician can determine if you have obstructive sleep apnea or 1 of 60 other sleep disorders. After an examination, your physician or sleep medicine specialist may recommend a sleep study either in a sleep lab, or in your home. These studies give them information that helps them determine where the problem is coming from, and what is the best treatment approach to resolve it.

First Step

Your dental care team will perform a screening exam for any Sleep Related Breathing Disorders (SRBD). They will look for risk factors and oral signs that an underlying problem may exist. They will also ask you questions related to snoring, sleep habits, and energy levels. If they feel you have significant risk factors, they will refer you for further evaluation to your physician or a sleep specialist.

Second Step

If it is determined you do have obstructive sleep apnea, you and your physician will discuss treatment options and recommendations that are best for you. This may entail a CPAP machine, an oral appliance, weight loss program, medications, or surgery.

Third Step

If your physician recommends an oral appliance as primary treatment, or in conjunction with CPAP therapy, they will give you a prescription to see a dentist to fabricate the appliance. You should seek care from a dentist who has had training in sleep dental medicine or is a Qualified Dentist with the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. The process will include an evaluation of the teeth, muscles, and jaw joint that will be supporting the appliance, fabricating and adjusting the appliance, addressing side effects, and annual follow-up appointments.

Fourth Step

Once your symptoms improve and your wearing the appliance comfortably, your dentist will refer you back to the physician for re-evaluation of your obstructive sleep apnea. The dentist will also see you on an annual basis for appliance checks and any side effects that may develop. 

Part of the evaluation process completed by the Qualified Dentist will include oral appliance selection. There are several options and types of oral appliances. Your dentist will determine which appliance will suit your needs and be the most comfortable for you to wear throughout the night, if it is determined you are a good dental candidate for an oral appliance. You will be shown care instructions and also given a morning repositioning appliance as well. Your dentist will go over a new daily morning protocol to minimalize potential side effects of appliance use.

Insurance Information

Did you know a dental oral appliance for OSA can be paid for by your medical insurance? Dental 

insurance does not cover these types of oral appliances.Dr. Fox and her administrative team desire to reduce potential barriers for you to receive treatment. That is why, unlike other dentists, we are in network with many medical insurance companies. With a medical diagnosis of OSA, an oral appliance for obstructive sleep apnea is covered by your medical insurance similar to CPAP, as Durable Medical Equipment. If your plan has this coverage, and you have an FDA approved custom appliance fabricated by a dentist who is in your network, your personal cost may be very minimal to receive the necessary treatment.

 

Dr. Fox is currently a participating provider with BCBS and Medicare to name a few, please check with us to see if we are in-network with your medical insurance! The goal for Dr. Fox and her staff is to be a team with you and your physician to help obtain the necessary treatment for your condition. Improving your health and quality of life is our priority and we are with you every step of the way.