Now offering Sleep Apnea, CPAP and Snoring solutions for patients in greater Lewiston and Auburn, Maine.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) has approved oral appliance therapy (OAT) as a first line treatment for patients diagnosed with mild to moderate OSA. The AASM also recommends oral appliances for patients with severe OSA, who are unable to tolerate or cannot wear CPAP devices. Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment that fits easily into your lifestyle.
Oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea continue to increase in popularity as effective first line treatment for many sleep apnea sufferers. These appliances are worn in the mouth, just like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic appliance, while you sleep. Oral appliances hold the lower jaw forward just enough to keep the airway open and prevent the tongue and muscles in the upper airway from collapsing and blocking the airway.
Understanding Sleep Apnea
Do you have trouble sleeping?
If so, you’re not alone. An estimated 22 million Americans suffer from a lack of sleep—and even exhaustion—caused by sleep apnea. Chronic snoring problems and interrupted sleep aren’t just an inconvenience. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to more serious health risks. Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleep disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing are called apneas and they can happen hundreds of times each night. Sleep apnea can have a negative impact on your health and prevent you from getting the restful night’s sleep your body needs.
Potential Health Issues
From Untreated Sleep Apnea
Continuously interrupted sleep can result in serious health-related problems.
Potential health issues that may result from untreated sleep apnea include:
- Sudden death
- Heart attack
- High blood pressure
Serious Health Issues
- Inability to concentrate
- Impaired memory
Diagnosing and treating sleep apnea can help control these conditions. Not treating sleep apnea can aggravate the symptoms of those other conditions, which in some cases can be life-threatening.
Common Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea
The fatigue and restlessness associated with sleep apnea can severely affect a person’s quality of life. It often makes concentration difficult, decreases productivity at work and increases the risk of accidents and errors in daily activities. Common symptoms include:
Frequent, loud snoring
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Chronic exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep
Gasping, choking or snorting during sleep
Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
High blood pressure
Poor memory, moodiness or difficulty concentrating
Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
If I snore, do I have sleep apnea?
Snoring frequently accompanies sleep apnea but it is not always an indicator of whether this sleep condition is present. However, snoring can indicate that bulky throat tissue could potentially obstruct airways – especially if patients have certain lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep apnea. Fortunately, the oral appliances we provide can treat both obstructive sleep apnea and snoring at the same time. These oral appliances are small and very comfortable to wear. They work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward so that the airway is no longer obstructed.
Is it possible that I could have sleep apnea even if I don't snore?
Anyone of any age can have sleep apnea. We can arrange for a home sleep study (HST) for a diagnosis by a medical professional, a local sleep physician or your primary care doctor. This is an essential step for a diagnosis.
What causes obstructive sleep apnea?
The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different for each person. Anyone can develop it, regardless of age or gender. The most common risk factors include:
- Being over age 40
- Having a large neck (over 17 inches in men, 16 inches for women)
- Being overweight – approximately half of OSA sufferers are overweight
- Being male – more men than women suffer from OSA
- Having a large tongue or small jaw
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (particularly in children)
- Using alcohol or sedatives which relax the muscles in the airway
- Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum or sinus and allergy problems
What is the difference between a CPAP and an oral appliance?
While CPAP is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people cannot tolerate the discomfort of the mask and the inconvenience and noise of the machine. Therefore a high percentage of users have difficulty or will not wear them.
An oral appliance is a popular alternative to the CPAP. This device is small, portable, fits more comfortably and can provide similar treatment benefits.
Does insurance cover obstructive sleep apnea treatment with oral appliances?
Since oral appliance therapy is considered a medical treatment, it will only be covered by medical insurance. We are providers for most major insurers, including Medicare. Our staff is exceptionally knowledgeable with medical insurance and will make sure to maximize your benefits.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you don’t have insurance, or if for any reason your insurer does not cover oral therapy or sleep related treatments, you still have a choice. We accept cash and all major credit cards. You can also easily finance your treatments using CareCredit. Apply now to see if you qualify
How long will it take to adapt to the oral appliance? Will it hurt my teeth?
Most patients will adapt comfortably within two weeks with little difficulty. However, a few may require more frequent appoints during the initial adjustment period. Minor side effects for some are not uncommon during the first few days but usually subside. Teeth and bites can be sore initially for some but this can be managed by adjustments and accommodations.
How often will the appliance need to be replaced?
Oral appliances for snoring and OSA are precision durable medical equipment devices approved by the FDA. They may need to be replaced after 3 years of nightly wear for some patients to adequately treat your snoring or OSA.
How long will I have to use the oral appliance?
Obstructive sleep apnea in unlikely to decrease with age; therefore your oral appliance will probably be a lifelong therapy. However, certain wellness factors such as significant weight loss may improve your symptoms.
Can’t I just order a boil and bite device off the internet?
While there are over-the-counter appliances you can order, keep in mind these are not FDA approved for treating sleep apnea. Additionally, when not fitted properly they may cause unwanted side effects such as jaw problems or excessive tooth movement.
Schedule Your Complimentary
Sleep Apnea Consultation
155 Center St #9
Auburn, ME 04210