What is Sleep Apnea?
Poor sleep plagued by snoring is never beneficial to you or your bed partner. In fact, regular nights of restless sleep can lead to distractions at work, home, or even while driving. If you struggle with a disruptive level of snoring, you may be experiencing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition afflicting 20 million Americans that often goes undiagnosed, and can lead to both serious illness and chronic unhappiness.
OSA is a potentially serious disorder where the throat muscles relax as you sleep, causing your breathing to stop and start very suddenly throughout the night. The body briefly awakens to counteract the disruption in oxygen intake, leaving you gasping for air and usually unaware that sleep was interrupted. This pattern may repeat several times a night, inhibiting the ability to reach deep sleep and resulting in little rest.
Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
OSA doesn’t discriminate, affecting all ages from children to adults. More than just snoring, there are a few causes and symptoms to look out for:
- Morning headaches, fatigue, and irritability
- Enlarged tongue or tonsils and deviated septum
- Congested nasal passages
- Weight gain
- Grinding teeth or clenching of the jaw
- Depression and difficulty concentrating
Diagnosing Sleep Apnea
At iSmile Dental Care, we take OSA treatment seriously. Our diagnostic process begins by conducting a free screening using the latest diagnostic technology to assess each patient’s sleep history, health patterns, and even the presence of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). Prior to any testing related to OSA, we always work with our patients to determine insurance eligibility.
When a patient is unaware of their apnea condition, we use a convenient at-home system for an initial diagnosis. The unique device is worn through the night to collect data and then returned to the office for assessment by a sleep physician to determine if OSA is to blame for poor sleep.
During the screening process, we also test patients using Pharyngometry to see if they may be a good candidate for an oral appliance. We can precisely measure where the airway is widest and record jaw position, allowing for the highly-accurate, personalized creation of an oral appliance. This means no adjustments down the line. It’s an easy, non-invasive, part of the screening process.
Sleep and Breathe Easier Knowing There’s Relief
Thankfully, there are options when it comes to treating OSA. At iSmile Dental Care, we have experience with and commonly utilize many different sleep appliances such as the MicrO2, Vivos DNA, and Vivos mRNA . They’re thin and allow ample room for tongue and jaw movement for effective treatment.
A combination TMD-OSA appliance and Neuromuscular Dentistry can also be highly effective for patients struggling with both disorders. This ensures muscles are relaxed and flexible for comfort that lasts throughout the day and night. We can easily assess the overall status of a patient’s head, jaw, and neck to determine if TMD is present and help calm muscles for added relief.
Vivos Sleep Apnea Treatment
Vivos is a newer solution for treating sleep apnea, but one that is rooted in research and results. For the past decade, patients suffering from OSA have benefitted from the Vivos system, which is an FDA-approved method for correcting misaligned craniofacial anatomy in a safe and non-invasive way.
Correcting OSA with Vivos requires wearing a custom-fit oral appliance for sixteen hours a day with return visits to have your dentist adjust the fit as needed. It can take 12 to 24 months to complete your specific treatment plan; however, unlike other methods utilizing oral appliances, the results are permanent. By using the Vivos system you can leave OSA in the past and look forward to a future filled with peaceful, restful nights.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Non-Compliance Assistance
In addition to the above treatment methods, we can also recommend alternative treatment for patients who struggle with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) issues. While CPAP machines are an effective, widely-used method of treating moderate to severe sleep apnea, some patients are unable to wear the mask-like device during sleep due to intolerance. We help patients benefit from a combination of CPAP therapy and oral appliance usage for maximum results. Our practice often sees referred patients from cardiologists, sleep specialists, and neurologists.
Affordable Sleep Treatment For All
All of our OSA cases are submitted for medical insurance approval. We participate with most PPO insurance plans. (See our New Patients page for a complete list). iSmile Dental Care also works with medical insurance specialists to help determine eligibility, pre-authorization, and benefits. We want you to be comfortable with all aspects of your care, and strive to provide high-quality treatment that’s affordable.