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Sleep Dentistry

Sleep Breathing Disorder

Sleep breathing disorder – often referred to as Sleep Apnea – is more common than you may think. The word apnea literally means 'suspension of breathing.' Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) simply means there is some constriction of the airway, which prevents the body from getting the proper amount of oxygen needed to recuperate during sleep. It is estimated that more than 42 million Americans have some degree of sleep breathing disorder: 1 in 5 adults has mild OSA and an estimated 1 in 15 adults has severe OSA – defined as having up to 400 apnea episodes nightly!

Sleep Dentistry Resources

Sleep Breathing Disorder

Sleep breathing disorder is a chronic health condition that, if left untreated, potentially worsens over time. Ongoing medical research is beginning to link sleep apnea to a litany of systemic diseases and medical conditions, including some cancers! Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, abrupt awakenings while sleeping, daytime drowsiness, irritability and mood swings, depression, difficulty concentrating and even decreased libido. Risk factors associated with OSA include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular problems and something most people don’t think about – sleep deprived partners!

Dentists are well-positioned to recognize sleep disorders due to the frequency of patients’ visits for their hygiene appointments. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you can take a quick two-minute web-based questionnaire during your hygiene appointment to instantaneously assess your risk factors for OSA.

Treatment

As with other recent advances in dentistry, treating OSA has changed tremendously in the past few years. New take-home sleep tests can sometimes replace the necessity to visit a ‘sleep lab’, where sleeping in an unfamiliar environment can potentially affect your test results. Once your results are obtained, our sleep certified doctors will work with you and your primary care physician to determine the best therapy designed specifically for you. In many cases, small oral appliances similar to bleaching trays can replace conventional traditional CPAP therapy for a more comfortable treatment solution.

Pricing

Did you know that sleep therapy is covered by most Medical Insurance plans? While your dental benefit plan may say they won’t reimburse for OSA therapy, your medical plan may offer this to you. It’s a little known and seldom used benefit made available – we’ll help you verify your medical provider’s benefit and handle the process to help you get the relief you need!

Assessment

Be sure to discuss with your hygienist or doctor if you can take a sleep assessment during your next visit. You may be surprised to learn treatment can literally be a life saver!