Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when soft tissue in the rear of the throat collapses, blocking the airway. This may occur 30 times or more an hour and causes you to stop breathing anywhere from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
If a doctor or dentist determines that you are at risk for sleep apnea, he or she can write an order for a home sleep test. Most insurance providers will cover at least a portion of the cost of a sleep study.
If your sleep study determines that you have sleep apnea, your doctor or dentist may recommend Oral Appliance Therapy. Oral Appliances work in two ways: First, they move the tongue and jaw forward to create more space in the airway. Second, by holding the jaw forward, they provide support to the airway and soft palate.
Oral Appliance Therapy vs CPAP
Many People diagnosed with Sleep Apnea have trouble adjusting to the nightly use of a CPAP machine. The good news is that now there are other options. Oral appliances have been approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and have proven to be as effective as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) for the treatment of mild to moderate Sleep Apnea.
If you are using a CPAP or if you have a CPAP and have stopped using it because of discomfort, Oral Appliance Therapy may be right for you.