Treating Sleep Apnea in Lincoln, Nebraska
Sleep apnea is defined as a health condition that results in constant pauses of a patient’s breathing as they rest. These pauses typically last for around ten seconds, and they can occur dozens, or even hundreds of times each night. There are two main types of sleep apnea: Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If sleep apnea occurs when the brain simply fails to send the proper signal to the brain to remind the patient to breathe, they’re experiencing CSA. Alternatively, if the pauses occur because the airway has become fully or partially blocked, that is OSA. It’s possible that some patients may even be experiencing a combination of the two types.
The symptoms of sleep apnea can be varied and complex, which is why so many patients are unaware they even suffer from the condition in the first place. However, the most common side effects include the following:
- Chronic, excessively snoring
- Constant morning headaches, dry throat and/or sore throat
- Problems with memory loss/concentration
- Extreme feelings of fatigue and exhaustion during the day
- Waking up gasping for air and/or struggling to breathe
- Strange shifts in mood/behavior
Successful Treatment is Possible
The first step towards treating your sleep apnea will be determining whether you suffer from CSA or OSA. At the Dental Sleep Apnea Center at Pioneer Greens Dentistry, we begin this important process by asking you to take the quick and convenient STOP-BANG assessment. It only takes a few minutes, and patients will be able to clearly understand their level of risk. If your results require intervention, Dr. Claire Haag will recommend a sleep study with medical professionals to determine the severity and causes behind your current condition.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine strongly recommends that patients who suffer from chronic snoring and/or mild to moderate OSA undergo oral appliance therapy as the first line of defense against sleep apnea. If your OSA is severe or you’re experiencing CSA, traditional CPAP therapy or combination therapy may be recommended instead.
Interesting Facts About Sleep & Sleep Apnea
- If you’re receiving seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night, there’s no reason that you should feel excessively tired during the day.
- The effects of sleep deprivation on a person’s memory are very similar to what drug addictions, Alzheimer’s and alcoholism cause.
- Many patients mistake their sleep apnea for insomnia because of the constant interruptions to their rest.
- Patients who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to not only develop obesity, but also struggle with losing weight and keeping weight off over time.
- If you suffer from chronic snoring but haven’t been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you still have an elevated risk of eventually developing the condition. That’s why oral appliance therapy is strongly recommended for these patients.
- The size of a patient’s neck and/or tongue can affect their risk for developing sleep apnea.
- One of the most common causes behind chronic erectile dysfunction is sleep apnea.
- Patients who experience untreated sleep apnea have a reduced life expectancy rate. Most of these people will not live past the age of 55.
- Around 80% of patients with sleep apnea are unaware of their condition because they’ve been misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. An even greater percentage doesn’t receive regular treatment for the condition.
- In a test between sleep-deprived people and inebriated people, it was shown that the former were more likely to be involved in a car accident.
- Are you frequently getting up at night to use the bathroom? This is a common sign of undiagnosed sleep apnea.
- Patients who frequently grind their teeth often have sleep apnea.
Chronic Snoring Is More Than Just An Annoyance
For many patients, snoring is the first sign that sleep apnea may be a possibility. These noises occur because air is vibrating against a person’s mouth, throat, and tongue – speech, singing, and laughing all happens in the same way. While a minor blockage to the airway may not result in full-blown sleep apnea, it can cause patients to have more difficulty breathing in and breathing out properly. Over time, untreated chronic snoring can eventually develop into sleep apnea.
If you aren’t currently experiencing sleep apnea but do snore on a regular basis, Dr. Claire may still recommend oral appliance therapy as a preventive measure that helps reduce your risk of developing sleep apnea and associated health problems over time.
A Worthwhile CPAP Alternative
For many years, CPAP has been considered the ideal solution to treating sleep apnea, and this can still be true in cases of advanced CSA or OSA. However, many patients struggle with a serious problem known as CPAP intolerance. The CPAP system utilizes a mask that covers the patient’s mouth and/or noise, constantly forcing air into the lungs. The equipment produces loud sounds, and many patients struggle with adapting to the associated noises and sensations. This results in patients foregoing treatment altogether, which is dangerous.
If you’re experiencing mild to moderate OSA or have proven intolerant to CPAP treatment, talk to Dr. Claire and the rest of our team about oral appliance therapy as a worthwhile alternative. We’ll custom design your appliance to be a perfect match for your mouth, providing plenty of comfort as it shifts the position of your jaw during sleep and maintains an open airway. The device is removable and simple to clean, and its small design is perfect for long trips. When compared with CPAP treatment, the compliance rate for oral appliance therapy is dramatically improved.
Is My Sleep Apnea Treatment Covered By My Insurance?
In most cases, a patient’s medical insurance will pay for their oral appliance therapy; recently, some dental insurance companies have also begun offering coverage. Our team members are highly experienced with the involved processes of medical billing, and we’ll work closely with your chosen insurance providers to maximize your benefits and ensure a smooth experience. The Dental Sleep Apnea Center at Pioneer Greens Dentistry accepts most major plans, as well as Medicare. Contact us today to schedule your initial complimentary consultation with Dr. Claire! Patients from Lincoln, NE and surrounding areas are always welcomed.