Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Lake Country Dental

What is sleep apnea?

When you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward and your throat becomes narrow and slack. As you breathe, the wall of the throat vibrates, which causes the snoring sound. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder the snoring. When the walls of the throat collapse completely, this causes a condition called apnea, which interrupts your breathing.

Sleep apnea is when you have one or more pauses in breathing while you sleep lasting from a few seconds to minutes. As you try harder to breathe, the tighter the airway closes. This leads the brain to wake to a lighter level of sleep so you can reposition your jaw and tongue to open the airway (usually with a gasp or a snort). While there are levels of severity, overall sleep apnea greatly affects the quality of life of the sufferer and their bed partner.

Sleep apnea is often overlooked or misdiagnosed. That’s why it’s important to get evaluated by a sleep doctor. If you snore loudly and wake up feeling tired, have frequent morning headaches, jaw pain or lack energy throughout the day, talk to your physician or dentist. Left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a number of medical problems.

Did you know?

Sufferers of untreated sleep apnea are four times as likely to have a stroke and three times as likely to have heart disease.

Treating sleep apnea can help you feel like a new person—restoring your alertness and revitalizing your health. Talk to your dentist or physician about sleep apnea treatment.

Treatment

If your snoring is due to sleep apnea, there are many treatment options available, including oral appliances. Oral appliances can also be used with patients who use CPAP successfully but travel frequently or are in areas without electricity. Comfortable and non-invasive, oral appliances can improve airflow and help you and your partner get a good night’s sleep.

Insurance

Coverage is available for oral appliances for every level of diagnosis of sleep apnea. We will predetermine your benefits with your medical insurance carrier prior to treatment. Typically, we receive payments directly from the carrier so it’s hassle-free for you. Lake Country Dental is also an approved provider for Medicare DME.

Treatment Options

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

CPAP is the gold standard for treating obstructive sleep apnea and this device is generally covered by insurance. Comprised of a mask or nasal cannula that delivers positive airflow to the nose (and sometimes the mouth), CPAP is a device that is highly effective for some people. In some cases, patients have a difficult time tolerating this type of therapy, including comfort issues, mask leaks and claustrophobia. The CPAP Pro is a device that is used when patients cannot tolerate a CPAP mask or have an issue with the mask. This device allows for nasal delivery of CPAP but uses the teeth to hold the mask in place rather than straps.

Herbst Oral Appliance

This oral appliance offers a high level of patient comfort and satisfaction. Herbst is proven to treat mild-to-moderate sleep apnea by holding the jaw and tongue forward preventing the throat from collapsing during sleep. It is custom-made and fully adjustable allowing for lateral and vertical opening movements of the jaw.

Elastic Mandibular Advancement (EMA)

EMA is similar to the Herbst in that its primary function is to bring the jaw forward and keep the airway open. The benefits include that it’s small,flexible and comfortable

SomnoMed®

SomnoMed is an oral appliance that has an upper and lower component that are not connected. This allows you to fully open your mouth, which can improve patient comfort. Custom-fit by a dentist, it moves the lower jaw slightly forward to keep the airway open.

Silent Sleep

Silent Sleep is a temporary oral appliance made in a dental office in one appointment. It is similar to a night guard and is designed to treat snoring, bruxism and some forms of sleep apnea. It works similarly to other oral appliances in that it limits posterior movement of the jaw during sleep, helping to keep the airway open. It is a good alternative when a custom appliance may not be an option.

Are you or a loved one suffering from snoring or sleep apnea?

Contact Dr. Lisa Mulkin or your physician for more information on diagnosis and treatment.

Dr. Lisa Mulkin has completed progressive continuing education to acquire the advanced technical skills, training and knowledge in dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy. At your first visit, she will discuss with you all the aspects of treatment. Then, Dr. Mulkin will conduct a complete clinical evaluation of your teeth, jaw, tongue, and airway. She will work with your sleep doctor for your long-term success.

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