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What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.
Common signs of sleep apnea include snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Like snoring, sleep apnea is more common in men, but it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway or misaligned jaw all increase the risk of sleep apnea.

Is Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea Important?

Treating obstructive sleep apnea is incredibly important to your health. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue, as well as morning headaches and memory loss. Sleep apnea also is a threat to your safety as it increases your risk of drowsy driving and workplace accidents. Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for serious health problems. These include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic acid reflux
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Severe, untreated sleep apnea even increases your risk of death.

 

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health. Here is a guide to help you get started with this life-changing treatment.

About Oral Appliance Therapy

Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway. Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

If you and your doctor decide that oral appliance therapy is the best treatment option for you, then your doctor will write a prescription for you to receive a custom-made oral appliance. You also will receive a referral to a qualified dentist who can provide oral appliance therapy. More than 100 oral appliances have received FDA clearance. Your dentist will recommend the oral appliance that is best for you. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment that fits easily into your lifestyle. Patients like oral appliance therapy because it is:

  • Comfortable
  • Easy to wear
  • Quiet
  • Portable
  • Convenient for travel
  • Easy to care for

 

How a Dentist Can Help: The First Visit

Dentists work closely with physicians to treat snoring and sleep apnea. At your first visit, your dentist will talk to you about the benefits of treatment. You also will receive information on the potential side effects and the cost of therapy.

Then your dentist will conduct a complete clinical evaluation. This will include an examination of your teeth, jaw, tongue and airway, and possibly a new X-ray of your mouth.

Making and Fitting Your Oral Appliance

Oral appliances are customized using digital or physical impressions and models of your teeth. These models are sent to a dental lab where the appliance is made.

Once your oral appliance is ready, you will return to your dentist’s office for a fitting. Your dentist will adjust the appliance to maximize its comfort and effectiveness. You also will learn how to clean the oral appliance and maintain it. After this fitting, your sleep doctor may schedule you for a sleep study to verify treatment success.

Follow-Up Visits

Follow-up visits with your dentist will be needed to ensure the optimal fit of the oral appliance. Effective oral appliances are always custom fit and adjusted over time to ensure maximum effectiveness. Your dentist also will schedule you for an annual assessment. These routine visits are an important part of your long-term treatment success.

Contact Us

Call today

773-935-3600

Lakeview Office

3056 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
Phone: (773) 935-3600

Michigan Ave Office

1339 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 922-1898