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The Danger of Ignoring Your Snoring

By Ryan O’Neill, D.M.D.

3D Cone Beam images of Dr. O’Neill’s airway before & after treatment with an oral appliance
3D Cone Beam images of Dr. O’Neill’s airway before & after treatment with an oral appliance

We spend one-third of our lives asleep but often times pay very little attention to what our body is doing while we sleep. Snoring while we sleep is not normal and it can actually be a symptom of a dangerous sleep disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

Signs and symptoms
Does your bed partner tell you that you snore? Do you wake coughing, choking, or gasping for air? Do you feel excessively sleepy during the day?

If you answered yes to these questions, you are considered to be high-risk for suffering from sleep apnea. Snoring is not something to be ignored and could be a warning sign that you suffer from sleep apnea.

What’s the danger?
Over 30% of Americans have sleep disorders, but most do not know it.
Physicians have described more than 70 different types of sleep disorders. Once correctly diagnosed, most can be managed effectively. Common sleep disorders include:
. Sleep Apnea
. Restless Legs Syndrome
. Insomnia
. Parasomnias
. Narcolepsy
. Circadian Rhythm Disorders

Sleep apnea can also lead to the development of other serious conditions including:
. High Blood Pressure
. Acid Reflux
. Weight Gain
. Type II Diabetes

Effective treatment of sleep apnea results in fewer hospital visits from these related diseases. A sleep study is needed to determine if you have a sleep-disordered breathing condition such as OSA.

In some situations, a Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT) may be recommended, which allows you to sleep in the comfort and privacy of your own bed.

A take home sleep apnea test is used to monitor oxygen levels, body movement, heart rate, body position, snoring and sleep cycles.

Treatment options
Scientific evidence supports that upper airway collapsibility is the primary cause of OSA and snoring, which fall into the category of sleep-disordered breathing.

Treatment options include: medical interventions, positional therapy, weight loss therapy, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) systems, oral appliance therapy (OAT) and surgery.

Oral appliance therapy can be a first-line therapy solution for patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea.

How can a dentist help me treat OSA?
Dentists can be the first to recognize the related signs and symptoms of OSA by evaluating the upper airway, tonsils and teeth. The actual dimensions of the airway can be accurately measured with a 3D cone beam image, which highlights excessively narrow portions of the airway. Dentists cannot diagnose OSA, however, they can work closely with a sleep medicine physician to create and implement your treatment plan.

Benefits of oral appliance therapy
CPAP is the gold standard for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. However, studies have shown that 40-50% of CPAP patients are non-compliant. More recent evidence supports health outcomes with oral appliance being equivalent to CPAP in a wide range of conditions for patients with mild to moderate OSA (improvements in sleepiness, quality of life and blood pressure are similar).

Medical insurance coverage
Most medical insurance plans provide coverage for sleep consultations, diagnostic testing (including Home Sleep Apnea Testing) and oral appliance therapy. At Sleep Nashville, we are in-network with Aetna, Cigna, Humana, United Healthcare and participate with Medicare. Sleep Nashville is a local facility where dentists treat sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy under the supervision of a board-certified dentist trained in sleep.

Take the next step towards better sleep and call Sleep Nashville today to schedule your Free Screening & Evaluation at 615.385.1190.

Let us help you Live Better By Breathing Better®!
4205 Hillsboro Pike, Suite B105
Nashville, TN 37215
615.385.1190 |

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