Frequently Asked Questions
22 million people in the U.S. have sleep apnea, suffering through restless nights, sleep deprivation, and low oxygenation – all without knowing it. We’ve answered some of the most common questions here to help you understand your symptoms. To learn more about the dental sleep solution for you, call our office at 813-60-SLEEP (813-607-5337).
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common but serious sleep disorder that causes interruptions in breathing during sleep. These pauses in breathing are called apneas and they can happen hundreds of times each night. There are two main types of the disorder: obstructive and central sleep apnea. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include loud, chronic snoring, waking up choking or out of breath, restless sleep cycles, early morning headaches, daily fatigue, and difficulty falling or staying asleep.
What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when a patient’s throat muscles relax and obstruct airflow, interrupting the natural breathing cycle.
Is Sleep Deprivation Harmful To My Health?
Yes, in addition to making you feel tired and fatigued throughout the day, sleep deprivation can lead to increased risk for high blood pressure, depression, headaches, ADHD symptoms, diabetes, stroke, and heart failure.
What Is CPAP Therapy?
CPAP is also known as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Using a mask, the CPAP machine presses air gently through the nose and mouth and into the lungs. The consistent pressure allows the sleeping patient to take deep, uninterrupted breaths, without the tissues in the back of the throat collapsing.
Can’t I just go to my dentist and have an appliance made?
The level of care you will receive at Sleep Apnea Solutions is expert. These devices are custom fitted by dentists that are specifically trained and Board Certified in treating sleep apnea. Any dentist can take an impression of your teeth and have a lab make you an appliance. It is likely, however, that they are not properly trained or certified in dental sleep medicine like our dentists.
What is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral Appliance Therapy treats sleep apnea through fitted appliances that reposition the mouth to increase airflow. The most common appliance is a mandibular repositioning device (MRD). The device moves the jaw into a forward position, lifting the palate, and increasing space located behind the tongue. It is custom-built to fit each patient.
Are there ways to detect sleep apnea other than asking my partner?
There are ways to detect possible sleep apnea even if you sleep alone or your partner hasn’t noticed. Signs of sleep apnea you may notice on your own include:
- Daytime tiredness
- Waking up at multiple times during the night
- Waking up gasping or choking
- Waking up with sore throat or dry mouth
- Waking up with a headache
Is It Possible That I Have Sleep Apnea Even If I Don't Snore?
Yes. Even though snoring can accompany sleep apnea, it is not always a symptom of this sleep disorder. For this reason, it is important to have a sleep study conducted to determine if apnea is occurring. Our practice provides take-home sleep study machinery to detect episodes of apnea during sleep. After usage, the device will be returned to our practice and we will analyze the data collected. If we find that sleep apnea is present or determine if snoring is obstructing your quality of life, we will provide treatment recommendations.
Does Insurance Cover Sleep Apnea Treatment?
Yes, most medical insurance carriers (not dental insurance) cover oral appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea. This treatment is also approved and covered by Medicare. Because medical insurance plans vary widely, our experienced team will work with you to determine your level of insurance coverage. If for any reason the treatment isn’t covered by your insurer, we will let you know and work with you to develop a financial plan, if needed.
What Is Central Sleep Apnea?
More uncommon than obstructive sleep apnea, this type of disorder is also more dangerous. Central sleep apnea is a condition in which the patient’s muscles do not receive the signals that monitor breathing movement.
Why Do I Snore?
Unless a patient is suffering from sinus or nasal congestion, snoring is a symptom of obstructed airways. A soft palate and collapsed tissues in the back of the throat can vibrate as air passes through. Common causes are large tonsils, sleeping position, alcohol consumption, excess weight around the neck, or sleeping pills and muscle relaxers. Snoring can also be a sign of sleep disorders, such as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). These disorders cause sleep deprivation and lead to increased headaches, migraines, heartburn, and acid-reflux, as well as an increased risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
How Do I Stop Snoring?
At-home treatments for snoring include regular exercise, weight loss, and avoiding sleeping pills, alcohol, and sedative before going to bed. But, if these treatments fail to resolve your snoring problem, you can speak with your local sleep specialist to learn about possible apnea diagnosis and treatment plans.
How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Sleep apnea is often treated through sleep hygiene regimens, such as getting moderate exercise or limiting caffeine, alcohol, and food consumption late in the day. Breathe Right® strips and similar products can ease sleep apnea, along with fitted oral appliances or CPAP machines. Surgical options are also available depending on the patient. Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA) Surgery tightens the soft palate and enlarges the upper airways by pulling the upper and lower jaws forward. ENT surgeons can perform soft palate surgery or Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Surgical treatments are recommended only if the throat or mouth has severe physical obstructions.
What If I Don’t Have Insurance?
We offer financing options and will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs.
Does sleep apnea differ between men and women?
According to a review conducted for Sleep Medicine Reviews, obstructive sleep apnea is more common in men. There’s evidence to suggest that women are underdiagnosed since their symptoms sometimes manifest differently, as depression and insomnia, or their snoring is quieter and goes unnoticed.
According to BMJ (the British Medical Journal), pregnant women see an increase in OSA rates by as much as 26 percent by the third trimester. Increased rates of sleep apnea in pregnant women can be traced back to a number of factors such as hormonal changes, weight gain, and stress.
No matter what your symptoms are, you should call Dr. Bulnes-Newton and schedule a consultation so you can receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
Solve Your Sleep Apnea Now
Are you tired of being tired? Take the first step towards better health and schedule a complimentary consultation. Only a few minutes of your time could mean the difference between another restless night and a new, brighter day.