SLEEP APNEA APPLIANCES
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a diagnosis assigned to people who experience repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. Many people might assume they have OSA because they snore, but a true diagnosis can only be determined by an overnight sleep study (or polysomnograph) administered by sleep specialist. It is important that OSA is treated in some way because the brain is not receiving a sufficient amount of oxygen throughout the night, which can result in excessive daytime sleepiness, high blood pressure, diabetes, mood disorders, and even heart disease and/or stroke. OSA can occur in both men and women of all ages, even people who are physically fit and in good health otherwise.
The best recommended treatment option for people who have been diagnosed
with OSA is CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), but many people cannot
tolerate it. In these situations, the treating sleep physician may recommend an oral
mandibular repositioning appliance instead. These appliances are fabricated by
dentists, but they are actually considered by insurance companies to be Durable
Medical Equipment. Sleep appliances work by moving the lower jaw into a more forward position, thus preventing a person's lower airway from collapsing on itself.
What do sleep apnea appliances do?
Help with daytime concentratration
Stabilize mood disorders or personality changes
Lower blood pressure
Prevent future health problems like diabetes, heart disease, or stroke
Decrease snoring and gasping during the night
What can I expect?
A prescription from a sleep specialist is required to move forward with any treatment. If you have already been given a prescription, the next step would be for our office to pre-authorize a sleep appliance with your medical insurance. Once that approval is obtained, you will be able to set up an appointment with Dr. Davis during which highly accurate impressions, measurements, and bite information will be taken. Dr. Davis will evaluate your oral anatomy to make sure the protrusion required by a sleep appliance will not negatively affect your jaw joints or your natural bite. It will take about two to three weeks for your custom-fabricated sleep appliance to be made. When you return to our office to try it in, we may have to make minor adjustments to it so that you feel comfortable. We recommend that you begin wearing it immediately at night. The best way to determine whether your appliance is working for you would be to schedule a follow-up sleep study, but many patients report an immediate increase of energy during the day and less snoring or gasping for air at night.