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Sleep Apnea

Your Local League City Orthodontist Treats Sleep Apnea

Dr. Vijay Bhagia and his amazing staff at Space Center Orthodontics have proudly been serving the League City, Webster, Friendswood and Clear Lake areas of Texas with orthodontic care for many years. Our team is constantly working to improve our office and the service that we offer and that is why we are excited to announce our latest treatment for Sleep Apnea. If after reading about the condition you feel that you or someone you know may be a candidate for sleep apnea treatment, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain -- and the rest of the body -- may not get enough oxygen.

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can't detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, no blood test can help diagnose the condition. Most people who have sleep apnea don't know they have it because it only occurs during sleep. A family member or bed partner might be the first to notice signs of sleep apnea.

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition, the airway collapses or becomes blocked during sleep. This causes shallow breathing or breathing pauses. Obstructive sleep apnea is a common condition. About half of the people who have this condition are overweight.

Who Is At Risk?

Men are more likely than women to have sleep apnea. Although the condition can occur at any age, the risk increases as you get older. A family history of sleep apnea also increases your risk for the condition.

People who have small airways in their noses, throats, or mouths are more likely to have sleep apnea. Small airways might be due to the shape of these structures or allergies or other conditions that cause congestion.

Small children might have enlarged tonsil tissues in their throats. Enlarged tonsil tissues raise a child’s risk for sleep apnea. Overweight children also might be at increased risk for sleep apnea.

About half of the people who have sleep apnea also have high blood pressure. Sleep apnea also is linked to smoking, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and risk factors for stroke and heart failure.

Effects Of Sleep Apnea

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including the following:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Periodic Lim Movement or Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Impaired Concentration
  • Irritability or short temper
  • Obesity
  • Headaches
  • GERD
  • Heart failure, irregular heartbeats & heart attack
  • Diabetes
  • Depression or Anxiety
  • Worsening of ADHD

In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.

Symptoms

The following symptoms could be a sign that you or someone you know is suffering from sleep apnea. If you are concerned that you are experiencing any of the following symptoms please see a doctor immediately.

  • Waking up with a very sore or dry throat
  • Loud snoring
  • Occasionally waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
  • Sleepiness while driving
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep
  • Forgetfulness, mood changes, and a decreased interest in sex
  • Recurrent awakenings or insomnia

How Is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on medical and family histories, a physical exam, and sleep study results. Your primary care doctor may evaluate your symptoms first. He or she will then decide whether you need to see a sleep specialist.

Sleep specialists are doctors who diagnose and treat people who have sleep problems. Examples of such doctors include lung and nerve specialists and ear, nose, and throat specialists. Other types of doctors also can be sleep specialists.

Treatment

Oral Appliance Therapy involves the selection, design, fitting and use of a custom designed oral appliance that, when worn during sleep, maintains an opened, unstructured airway in the throat. Oral appliances that treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are devices worn in the mouth, similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. They have several advantages over other forms of therapy. Oral appliances are comfortable and easy to wear and care for. They are compact and convenient, making them easy to carry when you travel. Treatment with oral appliances is reversible and non-invasive.

How Oral Appliances Work

  • Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
  • Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue

Other Treatment Options

There are three primary ways to treat snoring and sleep apnea, in addition to lifestyle changes such as good sleep hygiene, exercise and weight loss. The most common treatment is Continuous Positive Air Pressure. CPAP keeps your airway open by providing a steady stream of air through a tube connected to a mask that you wear as you sleep. Another option is surgery performed by an AADSM member trained as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. A surgeon can prevent airway collapses by eliminating tissue in the soft palate, uvula and tongue. More complex surgical procedures can reposition the anatomic structure of your mouth and facial bones.

FAQ

What is an Oral Sleep Appliance?

Oral Sleep Appliances (OSA) are worn while you sleep. The dental appliance is designed to advance the lower jaw and keep air flowing. This repositioning of the jaw helps prevent collapse and blockage of the airway. Sleep apnea mouthpieces can be effective immediately.

Can an Oral Sleep Appliance replace my CPAP?

We regularly meet sleep apnea patients looking for CPAP alternatives. While CPAP machines are front line treatment for severe cases, many people with milder cases of sleep apnea can replace their CPAP machine with an Oral Sleep Appliance. You may also use both which is called combination therapy and lower the pressure of the CPAP making it more comfortable.

Is an Oral Sleep Appliance comfortable?

Oral Sleep Appliances from Space Center Sleep Solutions are custom fit for comfort. The OSA’s are painless, non-invasive, and can be more affordable than other sleep apnea treatments. With an Oral Sleep Appliance you can sleep in any position, drink water, and talk.

How do I get an Oral Sleep Appliance?

In order to be treated with an OSA, you must first be diagnosed with sleep apnea. The doctor who provides the diagnosis must simply state that a sleep apnea dental appliance is a suitable option for you. Once you have the diagnosis, Dr. Bhagia can create a custom fitting (OSA) for you.

How long does it take to get my Oral Sleep Appliance?

Fitting and making a custom appliance takes approximately 2-3 weeks.

How long does the appliance last?

Appliances can last several years. Things that impact the life of the dental appliance are: the choice of the appliance, the care given to the appliance, and the stress on the appliance from clinching and grinding.

Do insurance companies cover oral appliance therapy?

Yes. Most medical insurance companies cover oral appliance therapy for treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). In our Bay Area office it is our experience that over 90% of the patients will have coverage for this treatment. However, insurance companies generally do not cover treatment for snoring only.

Come Visit Your Clear Lake Orthodontist Today!

Dr. Bhagia and his staff would like to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting our website and learning more about sleep apnea. We encourage you to browse the remainder of our website for more information about our practice, treatments and everything else we have to offer. Should you have further questions about sleep apnea, our practice, or simply wish to book an appointment, please contact our office! We look forward to hearing from you.

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