What is Snoring?
Snoring is when you breathe during sleep with a loud piercing noise due to the vibration or fluctuation of the soft palate. Snoring is a bothersome sound that many just shrug off or chuckle at, but it’s necessary to know that snoring could be a sign of a larger, more serious medical ailment called sleep apnea.
One in three adults snore regularly, and 50% more snore occasionally. In fact, there can be up to eighty million snoring adults in the United States. Studies have shown snoring can be inherited with close to 70% of all snorers having a hereditary link. The most concerning factor of all, however, is that snorers are three times more likely to suffer adverse health infirmities than non-snorers. About 70% of snorers also suffer from sleep apnea but most have no idea. This is why a sleep test is so important.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder in which respiratory function frequently stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you feel fatigued even after a full night’s sleep, or if you snore loudly.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), occurs when the muscles in the throat, including the tongue, relax and block the airway. This blockage allows no air to pass into the lungs causing a drop in oxygen levels. About 1 in 5 adults suffer from sleep apnea and almost 90% are undiagnosed.
Why is Snoring Dangerous?
Snoring can be connected to various types of sleep disorders; the most prevalent is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
The concern is that the collapse of the airway causes a reduction in airflow to the lungs, resulting in a loss of oxygen to the brain and other essential organs. Not only does snoring affect your sleep, but untreated snoring can raise your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, and stroke.
It can also make for an unhappy bed partner!
What are risks of OSA?
Obstructive Sleep Apnea can wreak havoc on your overall health. It has been shown to directly cause high blood pressure and insulin resistance. OSA also increases your risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease by 3 times.
It is linked with depression, memory loss, poor concentration and even impotence.
This is due to the repeated oxygen starvation and stress hormones released due to OSA.
How is the diagnosis made?
Typically the diagnosis starts by recognizing the signs and symptoms. Some signs are a large neck, overweight, snoring, teeth grinding and a large or scalloped tongue. Some symptoms are headaches, fatigue, poor concentration and poor sleep.
Once the signs and symptoms are recognized, a sleep test or polysomnogram will confirm the diagnosis. Our cutting edge technology allows you to take this sleep test at home in the comfort and privacy of your own bed. The results are then uploaded and read by a board certified sleep physician.
How does OAT work? MAD vs TRD
There are 2 types of oral appliances- MADs and TRDs
Mandibular Advancement Appliances (MAD’s) that work by bringing the lower jaw forward. If you have ever had basic life support training, think the head tilt jaw thrust to open the airway.
Tongue Restraining Devices (TRD’s) work by keeping the tongue from falling back.
At SleepWell Temecula we use a revolutionary “Hybrid” Appliance that has the best features of both the MAD’s and TRD’s.
Our Treatment Includes:
- Personalized Custom-Fitted Oral Appliance
- Follow up Care and Training
- Comfort Adjustments to maximize effectiveness
- And a post Sleep Study to confirm effectiveness
That snore guard I bought online doesn’t work?
While these boil and bite snore guards can work for some patients, the evidence in multiple scientific studies have shown that these over the counter devices are not nearly as effective as a professionally made, titrated and custom adjusted oral appliance.
Why see a dentist?
There are many signs and symptoms that can easily be identified in a routine dental visit, such as a small lower jaw, crowded teeth, a scalloped tongues, teeth grinding and wear as well as a small airway opening. A dentist trained in sleep apnea can recognized these as signs of sleep apnea and only a licensed dentist can make an FDA approved oral appliance for sleep apnea.
Finding an extremely qualified dentist, trained in treating snoring, sleep apnea and TMJ disorder, to monitor your care is the best way to reduce or circumvent sometimes serious health complications associated with sleep apnea.
Is Treatment Covered By My Insurance?
Because obstructive sleep apnea is a medical condition, reimbursement comes under your personal Health Insurance Plan, not your dental plan. We can verify coverage before we start treatment. Dr Skidmore is a contracted provider for both Tricare and Medicare.
Many health care plans do cover Oral Appliances for OSA when they are tailor-made oral appliances designed by a qualified dentist and are approved by the FDA.