You’re bound to have questions when you come in for your first sleep apnea consultation. Even though it is one of the more common sleep disorders, most people don’t know very much about it. The more information you have, the easier the condition will be to overcome. We’re always happy to answer your questions, but to help you take the initiative in learning as much about sleep apnea as possible, we’ve gone ahead and provided the answers to some of the inquiries we’ve heard most often. Please call us if there’s anything else on your mind that isn’t addressed here.
Sleep apnea is often directly linked to factors in your mouth and throat – in other words, the part of the body that a dentist is most familiar with. Having undergone advanced training in sleep medicine, Dr. Thompson is uniquely qualified to help patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea by creating custom-made sleep appliances to keep their airways open during the night. To ensure that you receive the best treatment, Dr. Thompson works with the finest sleep doctors in the area.
Not necessarily; while it is true that most patients with sleep apnea snore, that doesn’t mean that snoring is always linked to a disorder. However, if you snore every night, chances are that you’re not getting the rest you need, leading to you feeling exhausted during the day. Chronic snoring can also increase your risk of developing sleep apnea later. We can use oral appliances to stop the noise and improve the quality of your sleep.
First, you need to confirm your suspicions. Many of the telltale symptoms of sleep apnea are also connected to other conditions, so a proper diagnosis needs to be made first. You can take the STOP-BANG Assessment on our website and send it to our team. If we decide that you’re at risk for sleep apnea, we’ll get back to you within a day to schedule a consultation.
Not all patients will experience exactly the same sleep apnea patients. That said, particularly common issues include snoring, exhaustion during the day, periodic cessations in breathing while you’re asleep, and waking up gasping for air. You might also notice that you gain weight, suffer from mood swings, and often wake up with a sore throat or headache.
If you are eligible for oral appliance treatment, it may be possible to switch to oral appliance therapy even if you’re already using a CPAP machine. While it’s not suitable for all patients, oral appliance therapy is a viable option for patients suffering from a mild case of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. For more severe cases, it might also be possible to use an oral appliance in conjunction with CPAP.
If you’re talking about dental insurance, then the answer is no. However, you can use medical insurance to help pay for an oral appliance; even though it comes from a dentist, the device is being used to treat a medical condition. Check your insurance plan to see what kind of coverage it offers. Most policies are willing to pay for oral appliances as well as other forms of sleep apnea therapy.
Using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea therapy can take quite some time to get accustomed to it. The device can often be noisy and distracting, especially for light sleepers. With an oral appliance, however, you should be able to expect better rest almost immediately. That said, it can also sometimes take a night or two for you to get used to having them in your mouth. The best way to know for certain if the oral appliance is improving your rest is to undergo another sleep test. Still, if you notice your symptoms are lessening or subsiding, then this is likely a sure sign of success!
Traveling with a CPAP machine can be cumbersome as the device is bulky and may be quite annoying to lug around with you. On the other hand, an oral appliance is small and can easily fit in your pocket, making them incredibly convenient to bring along during a trip. In either case, you’ll want to make sure you keep up with your normal sleep routine as much as you can while traveling. This will increase your chances of getting plenty of rest.
Since being overweight is one of the major risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea, it’s quite possible to reduce your symptoms if you work on losing some of your weight. After all, having excess weight and tissue can result in blocking your airways, making it more difficult to breathe during rest. By exercising and shedding off the tissue surrounding your airways, you can minimize your symptoms of sleep apnea. That said, there’s still a chance that you might experience problems during rest even after losing weight, in which case you’ll want to do another sleep test to see if your condition persists.
While sleep apnea can affect a wide range of people, certain demographics have a higher chance of developing symptoms during rest. This can include men, obese or overweight individuals, those with an untreated tongue tie, pregnant women, and post-menopausal women. While certain risk factors can be reduced on your own, others may require help from a doctor to treat the symptoms. If you suspect that you might have sleep apnea or have issues getting sufficient rest, don’t hesitate to contact us for help.