Sleep Apnea Treatments – Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) – Houston, TX

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About Snoring and Sleep Apnea

If your partner's snoring is preventing you from getting your sleep, bring them to us and sleep like a baby again!

Snoring can be a result of your muscles relaxing during sleep and gravity pulling your airway partially closed.  Even a quiet sleeper might snore after a big meal, or, especially, after alcohol too close to bedtime. From a medical perspective, the biggest problem with snoring is it is very often a sign of a more serious problem, obstructive sleep apnea. If mild OSA, we can stop the snoring and make your bedroom quiet again fairly quickly with a comfortable dental appliance that is worn at night. But, getting a device  without first finding out if you have sleep apnea means you might become a quiet sleeper but not avoid the extreme health risks of  apnea.  Dentist-provided devices must be  the  result of a sleep test – if that shows you only snore, then, by all means, we can help you with a simple dental device.

Obstructive sleep apnea is identified as repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. This creates momentary suffocation that puts stress on the body, and can lead to hypertension,heart disease, memory loss, mood change, weight gain, and severe fatigue.  The most common sleep apnea solution is the use of a CPAP machine.  The type of machine used depends on each patient and  upon the severity of the apnea. For mild sleep apnea cases, not everyone wants to opt for a CPAP machine,  and a mandibular advancement device can be worn in the mouth to pull the lower jaw forward, and treat obstructive sleep apnea.  Also, if a patient cannot tolerate a CPAp machine, then they may be a great candidate for a dental appliance.  At Houston Heights Dentistry, Dr. Neela Patel has not only completed the Sleep Dentistry Education course at the esteemed Pankey Institute, but she also takes many courses in the treatment of sleep apnea.  She is well versed with the different type of custom-fit oral appliances and can help you make the best choice of appliance for your needs. These appliances  are more comfortable than the other sleep apnea treatments.

Best Candidates

People who suffer from severe sleep apnea are not good candidates for a dental solution. In such cases, a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine may be the best options. However, many people who are diagnosed with severe apnea do not respond well to CPAP machines because they cannot tolerate it. Some of them are  not a good candidate for other reasons. Because of this, over 70% of patients prescribed CPAP therapy fail to use it regularly. If you fall into that category or have a mild to moderate snoring problem, a dental solution may be just what you need. OSA can be dangerous since it literally prevents you from breathing hundreds of times a night when the tissues in your throat and soft palate collapse. Your airway is blocked when this happens, and no oxygen gets to your organs or brain. Needless to say, it is critical to get it properly diagnosed and treated with the best solutions.

Houston Heights Dental works with sleep apnea medical doctors and can refer for the appropriate sleep apnea testing to help determine if our patient needs an oral appliance or other OSA treatment. The sleep testing device can be used at home or in a sleep lab during your nightly sleep session and results are submitted directly to the sleep physician.  Then, the physician will determine if you are a candidate for an oral appliance from your dentist. Sleep apnea is a common health problem that is often ignored because it is dismissed as severe snoring. While snoring is part of sleep apnea, patients who suffer from this stop breathing during sleep, resulting in serious health problems if left untreated.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

While there are many signs that can cause a sleep apnea diagnosis, snoring is one that is commonly overlooked. Those with sleep apnea tend to snore more loudly and regularly than normal. They may also brux or grind their teeth or make gasping noises during sleep or waking. If you hear your partner experience abnormal snoring habits, it may be a sign of sleep apnea and may require a specific sleep apnea treatment.

What To Expect

Sleep apnea treatment with Dr. Patel at Houston Heights Dental utilizes what is referred to as a Mandibular Advancement Device which can be a very effective therapy for OSA. It is a custom-made device that fits in your mouth at night. There are more than a hundred different models on the market, but Dr. Patel will work with you to make sure you get the one that is right for you. This will come after she conducts an examination of your teeth, jaw, tongue, and airway.  It can be compared to a mouth guard for sports or a retainer. The main difference is instead of guarding your teeth against injury, it gently shifts the jaw into a forward position to help keep your airway open. . You will also have digital x-rays taken and impressions of your teeth to create your oral appliance.

Follow-Up

Once your appliance has been manufactured at a high-tech dental lab, an appointment is made to fit the device. We will schedule you for a follow-up appointment. Dr. Patel will initially fit it into your mouth and adjust it according to your feedback to get it as comfortable as possible. She will also take as much time as you need to help you learn everything about your new snoring/sleep apnea appliance. Our team will discuss how to store, clean, and maintain it as well as how to wear it on a nightly basis. She will also want you to bring in during your routine check-ups and come back every 3 months for a year to check for wear and tear, and if you are having any issues with it. The expectation is that your quality of life will dramatically improve if you properly follow nightly procedures to get some restful sleep.

Insurance Coverage

Depending on the type of treatment, the cost may or may not be covered by your medical insurance provider. We will contact your provider prior to your treatment and consult with you about any additional costs. We can also provide information about payment plans in order to make treatment more affordable. 

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Everyone Sleeps Better

 If you went through every day having your breathing interrupted hundreds of times from your airway being blocked, you wouldn’t waste a second in getting it corrected. However, when the same thing happens in your sleep, it can be all too easy to put off since you don’t remember it when you wake up (unless your partner complains about getting no sleep because of your snoring). Those who do not address OSA are much more likely to have high blood pressure, memory loss, headaches, depression, as well as more strokes and heart problems. The devices are well tolerated by most people, and they're lightweight and easy to travel with. Plus, you partner's mood will also be a lot better!

If you think it’s time to do something about your snoring or mild sleep apnea, stop by Houston Heights Dentistry or contact our office to book your consultation.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.