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Frequently Asked Sleep Apnea Dentistry Questions – Covington, GA

Questions About Sleep Apnea? We Can Help

While most people are familiar with the term sleep apnea, they likely don’t know what it is or what the symptoms are, let alone how a dentist can help treat it. On this page, we’ve included a few of the most common questions our patients ask us. It’s the perfect place to start if you’d like to learn more about subjects related to sleep apnea, such as the causes, risk factors, and the diagnostic and treatment process. If you still have questions, we’re always just a phone call away.

Does snoring automatically mean a person has sleep apnea?

Whenever someone snores, it’s because the soft tissues in the throat and mouth are vibrating due to passing air. While loud, chronic snoring is a common symptom for sleep apnea, it does not necessarily guarantee that sleep apnea is present. In order to diagnose sleep apnea, a patient must have apnea episodes where they temporarily stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. With that said, if you snore often and loudly, you should still consult with a doctor as it can still be an indicator for sleep apnea or sleep-disordered breathing.

What is sleep apnea?

When we talk about sleep apnea, we are referring to a sleep disorder that causes temporary disruptions in breathing for short periods of time. While this can be caused by soft tissue in the mouth and throat collapsing into the airway, causing a blockage, (also known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA), it can also be caused by the brain failing to send signals to the body to breathe during sleep (known as central sleep apnea or CSA.) OSA is by far the more common form, and sometimes patients can exhibit symptoms of both varieties.

Do I have sleep apnea and don’t know it?

If you feel exhausted throughout the day, despite going to bed at a decent hour and getting enough hours of sleep, it could be due to an undiagnosed sleep disorder like sleep apnea. You may also wake up sweating or gasping for breath. In many cases, it’s your bed partner that discovers your symptoms of sleep apnea, if you have one. Cessations (or interruptions) in breathing are by far the most common symptom you can have for sleep apnea. The only way to know for sure if sleep apnea is present is to have a sleep study performed. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, please take the Epworth assessment available on our website. This will give us the necessary information to confirm your risk for sleep apnea. We’ll be in touch with you within 24 hours of evaluating your results and discuss your next steps for diagnosis and treatment.

Do I have to visit a sleep dentist if I’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea?

Not necessarily. However, if you have not been able to experience relief via a CPAP machine alone, your doctor will likely recommend you to a sleep dentist. Dr. Dean is best able to determine if you are a viable candidate for oral appliance therapy. If he evaluates you and determines that an oral appliance would help you, he’ll begin planning your next treatment.

What is better: an oral appliance or a CPAP machine?

There is no clear answer because it always depends on the patient’s needs. While CPAP therapy is prescribed more often to patients than oral appliance therapy, many still find the CPAP to be too bulky or noisy to actually use. Patients like these as well as those who cannot be treated with CPAP will likely find an oral appliance to be more effective and therefore better for them. However, those suffering from severe sleep apnea will likely not get all the relief they need through an oral appliance alone. The best way to determine which is a better option is to speak with a doctor. They will help determine which treatment is best for you.

Will insurance cover my oral appliance therapy?

Most of the time, both medical insurance and Medicare can be used to either partially or totally cover the costs of sleep apnea treatment as well as the diagnostic process. Our team will help you determine and use the benefits you have as well as maximize your coverage.