Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Different Types of Snoring

Most of us know whether we snore or sleep quietly at night. Snoring can be minor, severe, affect women, men, be frequent or only happen during allergy and cold season. When visiting family and friends, snoring can be embarrassing. Snoring can also affect the sleep of a spouse or significant other. Most serious of all, snoring could be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder. OSA is a medical condition that causes patients to stop breathing multiple times throughout sleep.

Regardless of which scenario above describes your sleep situation, our practice offers several convenient solutions. First, we start with a sleep apnea study, which can be obtained through our office and taken home. We realize visiting a sleep clinic can be a hassle and patients are more likely to complete a sleep test at home vs in a lab. This sleep diagnostic tests for obstructive sleep apnea and restrictions in the airway that are causing snoring. Once the results are in, we schedule patients for an appointment to discuss treatment.

Alternatives to CPAP Machines and Surgery

There are several options to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Most sleep clinics are limited to prescribing CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) or BiPAP (BiLevel Positive Airway Pressure).

  • Although health insurance will sometimes pay for these machines, they are difficult to use, maintain and can affect the sleep and freedom of patients and partners.
  • Using a CPAP machine commits a patient to a lifetime of wearing a mask every night and may not be necessary for most patients.
  • Patients deserve to know what is causing an airway obstruction and receive a treatment plan that fixes the problem.

Fortunately, there are many alternatives available at Harkins, Hancock & Johnston Dentistry. Most patients affected by snoring and mild/moderate sleep apnea can benefit from an anti-snoring appliance. Some appliances, like Mute are simple and open the nasal passage enough to relieve sinus pressure and decrease snoring. Other appliances open the airway just enough to reduce or eliminate snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. If you cannot tolerate your existing CPAP machine or you were recently diagnosed with OSA, realize there are other treatments available!

Getting a Custom Fit for a Snoring Appliance

While anti-snoring appliances can be purchased online, only at a dentist can these devices be customized for your bite and jaw. Not only does this improve the comfort of wearing the mouthpiece, it also makes it more effective.

The fit is done while you sit in the dentist chair after a cleaning. Using a bite matrix and material to position the jaw in the right position, we can test the effectiveness for preventing snoring before the appliance is made. A digital scanner is used to create an exact model of your teeth with the jaw positioned in the new anti-snoring position.

What Will an Anti-Snoring Device Accomplish?

Compared to CPAP, anti-snoring appliances are lightweight, easy to wear, portable and comfortable. Best of all, these appliances reduce or eliminate snoring and sleep apnea in most patients.

Anti-snoring devices can be conveniently purchased at a dentist and are more affordable than many other treatment options. Another benefit of getting an oral appliance to prevent snoring at your dentist? These devices can affect teeth position and bite overtime. During routine cleanings, patients can bring in appliances for periodic adjustments and cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who handles the sleep study and how does it work?
  • Who: A board certified physician in Sleep Medicine conducts the Home Sleep Apnea Test (HSAT) for patients of HH&J. An Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Doctor is the only type of medical professional who can diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If patients have severe OSA, treatment might require CPAP, removal of adenoids or laser surgery to improve airways. However, most patients have moderate to mild OSA and can benefit from an oral appliance.
  • Where: Patients can take the test at home via a wearable device over the course of two nights.
  • Cost: Some insurance will cover a portion of the cost for a sleep study. Otherwise it is less than $250
  • Timeline: The sleep study takes two days and around two weeks to receive the full results.
What type of anti-snoring appliances does your practice sell?
  • Our clinic sells mandibular advancement devices which are popular with dentists and patients. This custom mouthpiece fits over teeth like a shield and re-positions the airway during sleep to prevent and eliminate snoring. Patients find the appliance comfortable and are still able to breath through their mouth at night
  • Adjustments to the appliance may be needed over time to continue its success and comfort.
  • The appliance is made of high quality Acrylic and only needs a daily cleaning with water to maintain hygiene.
  • The anti-snoring device will also help patients prevent teeth grinding as it covers the top enamel.
What else should I know about the snoring appliances sold at HH&J?
  • After a custom fitting, your snoring appliance takes several weeks to be made and delivered. Patients will need to come back for an appointment where we discuss use and care. Multiple followup appointments are made to confirm the appliance is working for patients  and that snoring has decreased or been eliminated.
  • Some dental insurance and health insurance policies cover oral appliances. For patients without insurance, we offer a discount.
  • Dentures, bridges and orthodontics can sometimes interfere with these appliances and patients may not be able to be fitted.