Ninety percent of Sleep Apnea patients are unaware they have a problem. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) usually starts out as snoring, where the air going to the lungs is blocked. If the air going to your lungs becomes completely blocked for 10 seconds or more, that an Apnea event. If you have more than five events in an hour, that is Sleep Apnea. Some people stop breathing up to 100 times per hour. This leads to a lack of adequate sleep which in turns leads to other serious health issues including:
Weight Gain, Lack of Concentration, Depression, Teeth Grinding & Clenching, Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease.
In the past you would have to have a hospital sleep study that required an overnight stay and could be rather expensive. If you were diagnosed with sleep apnea, then you would more than likely be prescribed a CPAP machine to use. This machine basically forces air into your throat and requires wearing a bulky headpiece and you are tethered to a machine. Medicare studies showed that 50% of the patients returned the machines in 90 days and of those who kept them, only about 50% used them successfully.
New developments have lead to portable instruments that will allow you to do an at home sleep study in two nights for about 10% the cost of the hospital study. These tests are administered by a sleep specialist physician, who then interprets the results and makes recommendations to us for treatment. As dentists we can make oral appliances that hold the jaw open and in a slightly forward position which opens the airway and allows for better breathing. If a CPAP machine is indicated the service can provide one.
Even if your problem is only severe snoring which drives your spouse out of the room, these appliances may help you. Most of these procedures are covered under your medical insurance plans to make it more affordable to you.