Snoring and Sleep Apnea Treatment Solutions
Dr Munz’s interest in Dental Sleep Medicine and sleep apnea has its roots from her family. One of the family members was prescribed a CPAP in order to treat sleep apnea. Regardless of the benefits for the health, the CPAP was not used due to the fact that it was uncomfortable. That individual suffered additional health complications that could of been prevented with compliance with his CPAP.
That spurred her interest in dental solutions for this family member and she pursued courses and seminars on dental sleep medicine as another solution. In this case a sleep apnea appliance would actually provide some relief and health improvement.
Over the years Dr Munz has further developed her skills and expanded treatment solutions for dental sleep medicine, attending conferences and seminars on this topic to become a premier provider in dental sleep medicine for Flemington and Hunterdon county.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and several other sources, oral appliances are indicated for patients who snore. Among these findings are that patients with an oral appliance have fewer nights of snoring per week, fewer snoring hours per night and reduced loudness of snoring itself. While studies indicate no correlation between quality of life for the patient, those having a child, father, spouse that snores, reducing the amount and loudness can be a huge improvement.
Snoring or sleep apnea?
There is a difference between snoring and sleep apnea. Snoring and sleep apnea have in common that there is an obstruction in the airway, causing in most cases a loud noise (snoring). However the difference between snoring and sleep apnea is that during sleep apnea a person actually has periods of no or little oxygen flow caused by the obstruction. Hence not everybody who snores is apnic, however overall it is a good indicator. This is why a sleep study is crucial to find out whether snoring is apnic or not.
What causes sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea can be caused by several factors, one being physical and structural issues, that do not allow the air to flow without constraints when sleeping. However there are many other factors, such as weight, medical problems, age etc.
Who diagnoses sleep apnea?
Your physician is a good place to start. He/she might refer you to an ENT or Pulmonologist (lung doctor) that will diagnose and manage your care. Only a physician can diagnose your sleep apnea. We will work with them to provide the best solution to your condition as a team approach. In order to diagnose sleep apnea a Polysomnogram or sleep study is usually performed. The study measures and records brain activity, eye movements, heart rate, and blood pressure. Additionally the PSG records the amount of oxygen in your blood, air movement through your nose while you breathe, snoring, and chest movements.
What are the steps involved?
Once the sleep study is performed and sleep apnea diagnosed your physician and you can then discuss treatment options. If an oral appliance is an options for you, you can then contact us to set up an appointment for the oral appliance.
The next steps are relatively easy on your end.
- 1. You would come in with the sleep study and we take an impression in order to fabricate the oral appliance. There are a few different solutions we offer that fit your needs e.g. a heavy grinder will have a different appliance than a person not grinding their teeth.
- 2. After 2-3 weeeks, we will have fabricated the appliance and an appointment is set for the insertion. This appointment does not take long and adjustments can be made to ensure the appliance is comfortable.
- 3. Two weeks later there is another follow up and from then on we will have 6 months follow ups to make sure the appliance is in order. These follow ups don’t take long. We ensure that the appliance is in order, that your bite does not change. All these are factors to ensure the appliance does its job effectively.
What is the appliance and what does it do?
The oral appliance is an appliance you wear during your sleep. It positions your jaw, so you have more room for air flow when breathing, allowing for more consistent breaths and a steady level of oxygen. It is beneficial for patients who are not CPAP compliant, it is beneficial for traveling, and some patients prefer the appliance do due comfort issues.
Does my insurance cover it?
The answer is it depends. Sleep apnea devices fall under the medical insurance, not under dental insurance. In order for insurances to cover, a sleep study has to be performed and sleep apnea needs to be diagnosed. We do not submit the charges to your insurance, hence the payment for the sleep apnea appliance is your responsibility, however once the appliance is fabricated you can submit all of the paperwork to the insurance and get reimbursed. We recommend to check with the insurance prior to ensure coverage levels and avoid any surprises.
I don’t have sleep apnea, but I snore, does my insurance cover treatment?
In this case, check with your medical insurance, but without a sleep apnea diagnosis it is likely your insurance will not cover it. However you can still get the oral appliance and as pointed out above an oral appliance is very likely to help you reduce the amount you snore per week, the amount of snoring per hour and the loudness of your snoring. Feel free to reach out with any questions.