Sleep Apnea Treatment in Hilliard, OH

Personalized Relief for Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Sleep apnea and snoring are common sleep disorders that can significantly impact overall health and quality of life. Effective treatment options, such as oral appliance therapy, are crucial for managing these conditions and improving sleep quality.

At Fishinger Dental, Dr. Nathan Desai provides personalized oral appliance therapy to help patients find relief from sleep apnea and snoring. Call our Hilliard, OH, dental practice at (614) 771-6060 to schedule a consultation and explore how these custom-fitted devices can reposition the jaw and tongue, preventing airway obstruction for a more restful night’s sleep.

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated episodes of breathing cessation or shallow breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes and often occur multiple times per hour. 

There are three types of sleep apnea: 

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): OSA is the most common type, occurring when the airway becomes blocked or narrowed during sleep, usually due to relaxed throat muscles. This obstruction causes breathing pauses or shallow breathing.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: In central sleep apnea, the brain fails to send proper signals to the breathing muscles. It isn’t caused by a physical airway obstruction.
  • Mixed Sleep Apnea: Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea, where the individual experiences episodes of both airway obstruction and lack of respiratory effort.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea man snoring and girlfriend annoyed

Sleep apnea can lead to various symptoms, including:

  • Loud snoring
  • Gasping or choking episodes during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating

If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of serious health complications, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.

Oral Appliance Therapy Sleep apnea device

Oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea that involves wearing a custom-fitted device in the mouth during sleep. These appliances work by repositioning the lower jaw forward, which helps keep the airway open and prevent obstruction.

There are two main types of oral appliances:

  • Mandibular advancement devices (MADs) reposition the lower jaw forward, preventing the tongue from falling back and blocking the airway.
  • Tongue-retaining devices hold the tongue in a forward position, preventing it from obstructing the airway.

Benefits of Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy offers several benefits as a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea:

  • Effective in treating mild to moderate cases of OSA
  • Provides an alternative for patients who can’t tolerate or adhere to CPAP therapy
  • Portable and convenient for travel
  • Less disruptive to sleep partners, as it doesn’t involve the noise or cumbersome equipment of CPAP machines

Candidacy for Oral Appliance Therapy

Not everyone with sleep apnea is a suitable candidate for oral appliance therapy. Factors that determine candidacy include:

  • Degree of Sleep Apnea Severity: Oral appliances are typically recommended for mild to moderate cases of OSA, while severe cases may require CPAP or surgical intervention.
  • Dental Health: A sufficient number of healthy teeth are required to support and retain the oral appliance properly.
  • Jaw Structure: Individuals with certain jaw abnormalities or limited jaw mobility may not be suitable candidates.

Getting Fitted for an Oral Appliance

To obtain an oral appliance, individuals must first undergo an evaluation by a qualified dental professional, such as a dentist or orthodontist with experience in sleep apnea treatment. The process typically involves:

  • A clinical examination to assess dental health, jaw structure, and bite alignment.
  • Taking dental impressions or digital scans to create a model of the teeth and jaws.
  • Customizing the oral appliance based on the individual’s measurements and needs.
  • Follow-up appointments for adjustments and monitoring of treatment effectiveness.

Using and Maintaining Oral Appliances

Proper use and maintenance of oral appliances are essential for achieving optimal treatment outcomes. Patients should follow the specific instructions provided by their dental professional, which may include:

  • Wearing the appliance during all sleep periods
  • Removing the appliance for cleaning and allowing it to air dry
  • Using recommended cleaning solutions or methods to keep the appliance hygienic
  • Scheduling regular dental check-ups to monitor fit and make necessary adjustments

Oral appliances typically have a lifespan of several years, but they may need to be replaced sooner if they become worn or no longer fit properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is sleep apnea curable?

While sleep apnea itself is not curable, it can be effectively managed and treated with various therapies, such as CPAP, oral appliances, surgery, or lifestyle modifications. Proper treatment can eliminate or significantly reduce sleep apnea symptoms and associated health risks.

How long does it take to get used to wearing an oral appliance?

It can take some time to adjust to wearing an oral appliance during sleep. Many patients experience mild discomfort or excessive salivation for the first few weeks, but these issues typically subside as the body gets used to the appliance. It may take several weeks or a few months to fully adapt.

How is sleep apnea diagnosed?

Sleep apnea is typically diagnosed through a sleep study, which can be conducted either in a sleep lab (polysomnogram) or at home (home sleep apnea test). These tests measure breathing patterns, oxygen levels, and other physiological factors during sleep.

Are oral appliances covered by insurance?

Coverage for oral appliance therapy varies depending on the insurance provider and plan. Some medical and dental insurance plans may cover part or all of the cost, while others may not. It’s essential to check with your insurance provider regarding coverage and any pre-authorization requirements.

Your Path to Better Sleep Begins Here – Book Your Appointment

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, such as loud snoring, gasping for air during sleep, or excessive daytime fatigue, it’s crucial to seek professional medical attention. Don’t wait; take the first step towards better sleep and better health by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Desai at our Hilliard, OH, dental office at (614) 771-6060

Take action today and start the journey towards a healthier, more energized you. Fishinger Dental welcomes new and returning patients in Columbus, Dublin, Upper Arlington, Grove City, and Westerville, OH!

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