Are you tired after a full night’s sleep? Has anyone told you that you snore loudly or you make choking sounds in your sleep? If so, consider talking to one of our dentists about your sleep quality and sleep apnea treatment. Dentists regularly help patients get a good night’s sleep with sleep apnea mouthpieces.

Can Dentists Recognize Sleep Apnea?

Our dentists recognize the signs of obstructive sleep apnea, the most common type of the sleep disorder. Dentists care about their patient’s sleep quality because the sleep disorder limits the amount of oxygen their body receives as they sleep. People with obstructive sleep apnea wake up possibly hundreds of times each night to breathe, preventing them from getting a restful night’s sleep.

How Can I Recognize Sleep Apnea?

Typical sleep apnea symptoms in patients we see struggling with the disease include:

  • Heavy snoring
  • Cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more
  • Making choking sounds while asleep
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Frequent morning headaches
  • Impaired memory
  • Irritability

What Are the Usual Sleep Apnea Causes?

When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your throat and tongue relax involuntarily, obstructing your airflow. Risk factors for the sleep disorder include:

  • Being obese or overweight
  • Being a man
  • Having a neck larger than 16 inches
  • Genetics
  • Large tonsils
  • Drinking alcohol before going to sleep

How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?

There are several things you can do at home to ease your symptoms. Sleep on your side, not your back. If you tend to roll over on your back while you sleep, attach a small pillow to the back of your pajama top. It will get you to roll back to the side. Losing weight can also make a major difference. If you smoke, quitting can also relieve sleep apnea symptoms. Drinking alcohol or using sedatives before bedtime may increase your obstructive sleep apnea symptoms.

More common sleep apnea treatments include CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines which involve wearing a mask at night, surgery for serious cases of obstructive sleep apnea and oral appliance therapy (OAT), which our dentists provide. If you’re interested in OAT, contact us to schedule an appointment.

Dental Appliance

What Does a Sleep Apnea Mouthpiece Do?

A sleep apnea mouth guard helps prevent your airway from collapsing by gently moving your lower jaw forward. It’s a custom mouthpiece so you can wear it all night and it won’t slip or move. The mouthpiece resembles a mouth guard you would wear to play contact sports. It has two pieces, one to go over your upper teeth and one to go over your lower teeth. The pieces are connected with a bar with a hinge so you can yawn and talk while you wear it.

There are two types of mouthpieces; mandibular advancement devices which move the lower jaw forward, and tongue retaining devices which holds your tongue to keep your airway open. The former is used more often. Our experienced dentists will help you choose the right oral appliance for you.

How Much Does an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea Cost?

Our dentist can tell you more about the cost once he or she determines the kind of oral appliance you will need. Your insurance coverage will also affect your total cost. Please contact our dental practice to schedule an appointment to learn more about your anticipated cost and your payment options.

What Benefits Does Oral Appliance Therapy Treatment (OAT) Offer?

An oral appliance for sleep apnea in Virginia offers many benefits. You will find you have more energy during the day and you will feel more alert. You won’t fall asleep involuntarily anymore while watching television. You also won’t disturb your partner with loud snoring, The oral appliance is comfortable and easy to use. Maintaining it is easy as well. Just rinse it off with warm water and a mild soap. When you travel, you can take your oral appliance with you; it will fit in your pocket. It’s much more convenient than taking a CPAP machine and the hoses and mask with you when you stay overnight somewhere.

If you’re interested in treatment for sleep apnea in Virginia, please call our practice to arrange a consultation with one of our dentists. He or she will assess your symptoms and determine if you’re a good candidate for OAT.

Will My Insurance Cover Oral Appliance Therapy?

Many health insurance plans over coverage for obstructive sleep apnea treatment, including OAT. It is a serious medical condition which can increase your risk for hypertension, heart disease and other problems. Please review your policy or ask your plan administrator for information about your specific coverage. Our knowledgeable staff can help you determine your out-of-pocket expenses.

If you are suffering from being unable to stay awake and alert during the day, give us a call to schedule an appointment. If it’s sleep apnea, we can discuss your options with you and start you on the path to good health once again.

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