Sleep Apnea

Snoring and OSA

Snoring and OSA are common problems that can affect your sleep, health and have significant impact on your quality of life. Often snoring is a symptom of OSA, caused by changes in your upper airway while you sleep. Your airway may narrow, limiting air flow as you breath. Your soft tissue may vibrate (this is commonly known as snoring), or it may completely collapse, causing you to stop breathing. Collapsing of the soft tissue is called an Obstructive Apnea, and may last for 10 seconds or more. Your airway may even move through all three stages during the night.

Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

  • Loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Reduced resistance to infection
  • Choking or Gasping for breath

Almost half of all adults snore, and the problem may be worse with overweight people.

Snoring occurs when there is a partial obstruction to the free flow of air through the mouth and nose. The sound occurs when loose structures in the throat, like the uvula and soft palate, vibrate as air passes over them. Snoring can get worse when the muscles in the back of the throat are too relaxed either from drugs that induce sleep or alcohol consumption. Snoring can also be caused by a large uvula, soft palate, nasal congestion, a deviated septum or other obstructions in the nasal and pharyngeal airways.In children, large tonsils and adenoids can be the cause of snoring. Pregnant women snore because of a narrowing of the airway and increased weight.

Did you know?

  • 90% of stroke victims also suffer from OSA.
  • People with OSA are 4 times more likely to have a heart attack
  • If you have OSA, then you are twice as likely to die in your sleep and 7 times more likely to have a motor vehicle accident.
  • OSA patients are 40% greater risk of having depression.
  • Individuals with OSA are more likely to have sexual impotence and develop diabetes.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms and Risk Factors

  • Stroke
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Irritability
  • Diabetes
  • Driving and work-related accidents
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Impaired concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Morning headaches
  • High blood pressure

Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea can be serious medical problems. Improperly treated obstructive sleep apnea can increase the risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other serious illnesses. Choosing a sleep-disorders dentist who is qualified to work with your physician is essential to your health or the health of a loved one.

Treatment of Sleep Apnea and Snoring

Dr. Huke is a certified dentist for the SomnoDent oral appliance therapy. He works closely with sleep centers to diagnose your sleeping disorder and develop treatment options:

  1. Lifestyle Changes
    • Weight Loss
    • Over the Counter Medication: Nasal steroids and Sleep aids
  2. Oral Appliance Therapy
    • SomnoDent MAS therapy - The comfortable, effective, custom made treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
    • The SomnoDent MAS is a Mandibular Advanced Splint(MAS) that treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. This movement tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway, which prevents obstruction while you sleep.
  3. CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure
    • CPAP is worn at night while sleeping and is applied through a tube and mask the covers the nose. The tube and mask is attached to a pump that generates air pressure which splints the structures in the back of the throat, holding the airway open during sleep.
    • Many patients find this treatment uncomfortable and seek an alternative treatment method such as the SomnoDent MAS therapy.
  4. Surgery - There are several different surgical procedures with varying degrees of success. The intention of surgery is to create a more open airway so obstructions are less likely to occur. Surgery can be quite invasive and sometimes worsen the apnea.
    • Laser surgery to remove some excess tissue from the uvula and soft palate
    • Somnoplasty - a radio frequency signal used to reduce volume of tissues in the soft palate or tongue

    • Strips implanted in the soft palate to stiffen it

Helpful Hints To A Better Night Sleep

  • Go to sleep and wake up the same time every day.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading or listening to soothing music.
  • Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable & cool.
  • Sleep on a comfortable mattress & pillows.
  • Use the bedroom only for sleep & intimacy; no TV.
  • Finish eating at least 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Avoid caffeine(e.g. coffee, tea, chocolate, soft drinks) within 6-8 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid nicotine-when used close to bedtime can lead to poor sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime.

Will my insurance pay for this treatment?

Most insurance companies pay for a custom fitted oral appliance like the SomnoDent MAS, this treatment is billed under your Medical insurance and not Dental. You may check your policy benefits for the custom- fitted oral appliance therapy. (Code EO486).

Call our office today to hear how Dr. Huke can help you to sleep better and change your life.