Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), commonly called sleep apnea, is a sleep disorder in which a person ceases to breathe multiple times throughout the night due to partially or completely blocked airways. The condition occurs when the tongue or throat tissues intermittently relax and block the airway during sleep.
Some common symptoms include snoring, frequent breaks in breathing, daytime sleepiness and/or fatigue, morning headaches, restless sleep, depression, frequent nighttime urination, acid reflux, and irritability.
A certified sleep specialist will diagnose sleep apnea based on a review of family and medical history, a physical exam, and a sleep study. Sleep studies can be done in a sleep lab or at home with a portable monitor.
Sleep apnea treatment options include:
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine – CPAP is the most commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. The machine forces continuous airflow through your nose to prevent the airway from collapsing when muscles relax during sleep. This results in a continuous oxygen level throughout the night. Unfortunately, many wearers do not or cannot tolerate the machine for various reasons and seek alternative forms of treatment.
Oral appliance therapy – A custom-fit oral device available through Sleep Dallas is a highly effective, non-invasive option for sufferers of sleep apnea and snoring. The device fits similar to a sports mouthguard and is comfortable, quiet, and easily portable for travel.
Surgery – Surgery is performed to remove or reposition the tissues in the throat to stop blockage of the airway.
It is estimated that 22 million people in the US suffer from sleep apnea, yet as many as 80% of cases of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as other ailments.
Obesity, age, the presence of enlarged tonsils or adenoids, frequent alcohol consumption, and smoking can all put individuals at an increased risk. Heredity and physical traits such as a large neck can also play a role in developing sleep apnea.
Oral appliances are a highly effective, non-invasive treatment option for snoring and sleep apnea. Devices are comfortable, quiet, easy to wear, easy to clean, compact, and portable for travel. Many wearers find them more tolerable – and often more effective – than a CPAP machine.
Each appliance is custom-fit to the wearer by Dr. Smith and his sleep assistants to significantly reduce the possibility of a patient experiencing side effects. When they do occur, side effects are typically minor, particularly when considering the risks of leaving the disorder untreated or ineffectively treated. Side effects may include jaw or tooth discomfort, excessive salivation, or dry mouth. Changes in bite or TMJ symptoms are rare, but also possible.
Oral appliances are covered by most medical insurances. We work closely with patients and their insurance to obtain pre-authorization and to ensure that coverage amounts, including any out-of-pocket costs, are fully disclosed and understood prior to treatment. If you have a traditional Medicare plan with a separate supplemental policy, treatment is almost always at no cost to you.