Sleep Apnea

Have you been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and have not been able to use your prescribed CPAP? Then it’s time to visit Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry. We can help stop your snoring and improve your health, once and for all.

Suffolk County dentists treat Sleep Apnea

Does your snoring or your partner’s snoring keep you both up late at night?  Most people think that snoring is simply an annoyance and nothing more.  However, loud and persistent snoring can be a symptom of serious health problems.  Read on to learn more about the causes of sleep apnea and how a visit to your local general dentist here in Rocky Point, New York can help you stop snoring, sleep better, and improve your heatlh.

Understanding sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a potentially fatal sleep disorder that is a result of repeated pauses in breathing.  The pauses in breathing can last from half a minute to over a minute, and can occur forty or more times per hour.  Sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax on to each other and the airway constricts.  When the airway is constricted, you oxygen levels are lowered and your brain senses this lowered oxygen resulting in the patient waking up to resume normal breathing.  Because the periods of lowered oxygen can occur hundreds of times per night it is impossible for your body to obtain a restful nights sleep.

Certain risk factors make more people prone to obstructive sleep apnea such as: 

  • Excess weight
  • Male gender
  • Age of 40+
  • Smoking
  • Enlarged tonsils
  • Family history
  • Nasal congestion
  • Use of alcohol or sedatives
  • Thicker neck circumference (16” for women, 17” for men)

Sleep apnea patients have a much higher risk for further health problems including:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Premature skin aging
  • Stroke

“Untreated severe apnea can take 10 to 15 years off someone’s life,” Cleveland sleep medicine expert Joseph Golish told USA Today.

About half of the 90 million Americans who snore have a serious sleep disorder. Obstructive Sleep Apnea sufferers always have a roaring snore, but snorers do not necessarily have sleep apnea. Treatments for snoring range from weight loss, decreasing alcohol consumption and changing sleep position, to oral devices, nasal strips, and surgery. At LI Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry, our preferred method of treatment is the use of an oral appliance, custom fitted and made for your mouth.

 Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea

The symptoms of sleep apnea are many and include:

  • Snoring
  • Waking up choking or gasping
  • Waking up with a sore or dry throat
  • Feeling tired or sleepy during day
  • Lack of energy during day
  • Feeling sleepy while driving
  • Restless sleep
  • Decreased interest in sex
  • Forgetful
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches in the morning

Sleep Apnea self-assessment

Answer these 12 “Yes” or “No” questions to help determine whether you are suffering from sleep apnea.

  1. You snore loudly most/every night
  2. You sometimes/often wake up at night with a choking feeling
  3. You wake up suddenly at night with a choking feeling
  4. Your sleep partner says you snort, choke, gasp, or hold your breath while sleeping
  5. You often wake up with a dry throat/mouth
  6. You often wake up with a headache
  7. You regularly feel exhausted even after a full nights sleep
  8. You have high blood pressure
  9. You are overweight
  10. You sometimes/often experience irregular heartbeats
  11. You have trouble with concentration and memory
  12. You are frequently bad tempered, moody or irritable

If you answered “yes” to six or more of the above questions, there is a strong possibility that you have a form of sleep apnea.  The first four questions are serious indications of the disorder.  If you answered “yes” to two or more of those questions, it is extremely likely that you are experiencing sleep apnea and should be evaluated by a specialist to get help.

Convenient sleep apnea treatment in Long Island

There are two common treatments for obstructive sleep apnea: Oral Appliance Therapy and CPAP.

Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry offers our patients Oral Appliance Therapy. The device is designed for comfort, so you can wear it all night long.  The oral appliance is worn in the mouth, just like a retainer or sports guard, during sleep and has been proven to be over 95% effective in the reduction and elimination of snoring and symptoms of sleep apnea.  The Oral appliance keeps the airway open by gently holding the tongue and jaw in a forward position.  Use of the oral appliance will provide a more restful night sleep to sufferers and people who snore.

Oral appliance therapy is used as for patients who have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, or for patients who have sever obstructive sleep apnea and can not tolerate the CPAP machine.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) on the other hand is considered very effective in the treatment of moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, however, it is not tolerated well and many patients find that they can not, or will not, wear their CPAP mask, thus not getting the benefit of the device.

Many problems with the CPAP machine include:

  • Dry mouth / Dry throat
  • Disrupted sleep from the machines loud noise
  • Discomfort
  • Rashes and skin irritation around nose and lip
  • Keeps partner awake with loud noise
  • Interferes with intimacy
  • Difficult to travel with
  • Requires maintenance

As a result of these problems, more and more sufferers are looking for better alternatives.

“Snoring mouthpiece” available in Suffolk County, New York

Oral appliance therapy is endorsed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Oral appliances are so comfortable and easy to wear that most people become acclimated within a few weeks. The portable size makes oral appliances ideal for travelers or campers as well.

To get an oral appliance for sleep apnea, first you will need a referral from your primary care physician. Then our team at Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry will perform an oral examination, take x-rays, and make sure that you are a good candidate. Though most patients are good candidates, certain exceptions such as underlying jaw problems or periodontal disease may disqualify for this sort of therapy.

Our dentists will choose explain all the pros and cons of this type of sleep apnea treatment. Dr. Elliot or Dr. Nick will take impressions of your teeth and create a custom made snoring mouthpiece in office. Small adjustments may be needed to fine-tune the fit. After you’ve been using your mouthguard for a few weeks, it is recommended that users have a follow-up sleep test to monitor the effectiveness of the device.

Sleep apnea treatment likely covered under insurance plan

The cost of a custom made snoring mouthpiece can range significantly, depending on the type of oral appliance used. The good news is that the cost of oral appliance therapy is usually covered by your medical insurance provider. Talk to our financial department for guidance on how to ensure you receive coverage under your plan.

Get a more restful night’s sleep with Long Island Implant & Cosmetic Dentistry

Long Island Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry’s Dr. Elliot and Dr. Nick are leaders in sleep apnea treatment. Our highly skilled Suffolk County dentists offer the most high-tech equipment to make your visits more productive. They sympathize with your desire to stop snoring and will provide you with a snoring cure that is not only effective, but affordable and easy to use. Call 631-744-5700 to make an appointment today.

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