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Are you tired of not getting restful sleep? Do you have trouble staying awake all day? If you’re one of the 30 million Americans with sleep apnea symptoms, relief could be as close as our dentist’s office. We enjoy helping patients sleep better as it improves their overall quality of life. You’ll feel refreshed after eight hours sleep instead of feeling tired.

What is Sleep Apnea?

It is a sleep disorder, with the most common type being obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The soft tissue in the throat and tongue relax, blocking the airway. You stop breathing until your body wakes you up and you gasp for air. You can stop breathing for a few seconds or up to one minute dozens of times a night.

If left untreated, OSA may increase your risk for coronary artery disease, hypertension, and stroke. When the oxygen levels in your blood suddenly drop, it strains your cardiovascular system. When you stop breathing, your brain tells your body to get oxygen to your heart and brain. To accomplish this, the blood vessels increase the blood flow, which puts pressure on the walls of your veins.

What Are Common Sleep Apnea Symptoms?

Common symptoms people with sleep apnea in Northern Virginia experience include:

  • Snoring loudly
  • Waking up gasping for air
  • Periods of not breathing
  • Morning headaches
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness, especially when driving
  • Inability to concentrate after a full night’s sleep

What Causes OSA?

Sleep apnea causes include:

  • Obesity
  • A large neck size
  • Family history of OSA
  • Being male
  • Alcohol use before bedtime

What Is the Typical Treatment for OSA?

If you have mild OSA, simple changes can help. Lose weight if necessary and sleep on your side, using pillows to keep from rolling over on your back. Extra weight around your neck reduces your throat’s diameter which contributes to blocking your airway. In men, extra weight settles around their neck which is why OSA is most common in overweight men. After menopause, women who are overweight find their weight shifting from their hips and thighs to places where men typically carry their extra weight, increasing their risk of OSA.

Call our office today if you’re experiencing the symptoms of OSA. Our dentist will evaluate your condition and he or she may recommend you see a medical doctor to undergo a sleep study to determine the severity of your OSA. The doctor can write a prescription for a custom oral appliance if you have a mild-to-moderate case of OSA.

If you have over five but less than 15 periods of not breathing per hour, you would have mild OSA. With more than 15, but fewer than 30 periods of not breathing per hour, a doctor would diagnose moderate OSA. Over 30 instances of stopping breathing indicates severe OSA. Other, more invasive, options for more severe cases include CPAP therapy or surgery. Surgery has side effects, so it’s usually recommended as a last resort.

Dental Appliance

What Is a Sleep Apnea Mouth Guard?

A sleep apnea mouthpiece is similar to a mouth guard you would wear while playing contact sports. The appliance is custom made from a mold of your mouth. Once it’s ready, your dentist will ensure it fits correctly. The appliance keeps your airway open, which should eliminate periods when you stop breathing.

How Much Will an Oral Appliance for Sleep Apnea in Northern Virginia Cost?

A mouth guard is a custom-fitted dental appliance. The cost varies depending on the type your dentist recommends and whether you have insurance coverage. Please contact our office to learn more about the cost.

Additionally, there are less expensive over-the-counter oral appliances available to improve your breathing at night. However, keep in mind that since a dentist isn’t ensuring the appliance fits correctly, it could worsen your OSA or cause jaw problems.

What Are the Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy Treatment (OAT)?

Using an oral appliance will make your sleep more restful, which will eliminate daytime grogginess. You won’t wake up with a headache, rather you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. Many individuals prefer an oral appliance over a CPAP machine as the mask can make them feel slightly claustrophobic. An oral appliance is also easily portable so you can get a refreshing night’s sleep even when you’re traveling. Call our office for more information about getting an oral appliance for sleep apnea.

Will Medical Insurance Cover Oral Appliance Therapy?

Many medical insurance plans cover oral appliances since sudden dips in your blood oxygen levels when you stop breathing during the night can strain your cardiovascular system. Our dentist will refer you to a medical doctor for a sleep study and provide a prescription for an oral appliance so your medical insurance will cover the cost. Contact your medical insurance provider for coverage specifics, and then call us for an appointment.

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