Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

It is a life- treating sleep disorder that negatively impacts the health and quality of life of millions of Americans.  OSA is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses and closes during sleep. In central sleep apnea, the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe. Mixed apnea, as the name implies, is a combination of the two. With each apnea event, the brain briefly arouses people with sleep apnea in order for them to resume breathing, but consequently sleep is extremely fragmented and of poor quality. Sleep apnea is very common, as common as adult diabetes, and affects more than twelve million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Symptoms of OSA include but are not limited to:

  • Snoring
  • Daytime Fatigue
  • Morning Headaches
  • Obesity
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Lack of Concentration
  • Large Neck Size
  • Interrupted Sleep
  • Sexual Dysfunction

 What is an Oral Appliance?  

A mouth piece made of acrylic that  opens the airway by altering the position of the lower jaw and keeps the tongue from falling back while sleeping, obstructing the airway. It is very easy to use and patients find it to be comfortable. It is ideal for patients who cannot or choose not to use C-Pap Therapy, not candidates for surgery, are traveling, need combination therapy with C-Pap for improved results or who simply want to be discreet about their treatment.

Oral appliances treat obstructive sleep apnea by keeping the airway open in one of three ways:
1.) Pushing the lower jaw forward (a mandibular advancement device or MAD),
2.)   Preventing the tongue from falling back over the airway,
3.) or by combining both mechanisms.
The most common type of oral  appliance, a MAD is often adjustable so that the dentist can move the jaw further or reduce the advancement as necessary. Apnea appliance therapy helps many people who have trouble tolerating traditional CPAP therapy.
What happens during the OSA treatment process?

After you have a diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea from a sleep physician, we perform a comprehensive evaluation which includes an examination of the teeth/gums, TMJ and airway assessment as well as imaging (panoramic film, Cephalogram and TMJ/tomo x-rays). Afterward, an FDA approved oral appliance is fabricated, inserted and fitted. Follow up visits will be necessary as well as a follow up sleep study to determine efficacy and long term follow up visits with your treatment physician and Dr. Stern.

Will my insurance pay for my oral appliance or orthotic?
Treatment is often a benefit under most major medical insurance. Oral Appliance Therapy (Sleep & TMJ) is a covered benefit under most major medical insurances (depending on your individual contract with your insurance provider). Our office staff with personally work with our patients to maximize all of your medical benefits and to submit claims to your insurance.

We also offer affordable financing plans to patients such as no interest payment plans.