Sleep Apnea Treatment Options in Tukwila
Experienced Sleep Apnea Dentists
We Offer an Alternative to CPAP Machines Covered by Your Medical Insurance
Over 20 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea and its side effects, such as chronic snoring. If you have sleep apnea, you certainly aren’t alone, but you may not know your symptoms are actually the signs of this serious condition that should be treated by your dentist. In fact, the vast majority of sleep apnea patients remain undiagnosed and, therefore, untreated. The dangers of sleep apnea include life-shortening consequences such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, memory problems, weight gain, diabetes, depression, accidents, poor work performance, and other ailments, so ignoring the symptoms simply isn’t worth the risk.
Our experienced dental team at Smiles@Southcenter can screen and treat patients in the Seattle are, for snoring or sleep apnea. We make sure coming in for an exam is easy, with convenient office hours, including on Saturdays.
Did You Know You Can Get Relief from Sleep Apnea Without a CPAP Machine?
How Do We Screen for Sleep Apnea?
With over 20 million Americans undiagnosed with sleep apnea, as healthcare providers we are committed to improving the overrall health of those in our care. A definite diagnosis requires a monitored sleep test for a full night, called a polysomnogram, to monitor your breathing and brain activity.
Obstructive sleep apnea can be treated in one of three ways. The preferred method of treatment is with a CPAP mask (continuous positive air pressure). However, oral appliances, offered at Smiles @ Southcenter, and surgery are also options when the CPAP mask cannot be tolerated.
A New Sleep Apnea Device?
While CPAP masks are the most common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, they can be uncomfortable, unpleasant, and difficult to use as a treatment. At Smiles @ Southcenter, we offer alternatives to CPAP masks such as The Moses oral appliance, which is most likely covered by your insurance. The Moses works by positioning the lower jaw and tongue in a more forward position. This pulls the tongue off the back of the throat and opens the airway for unobstructed breathing.
Remember, sleep apnea is treatable, and the solution doesn’t have to impact your lifestyle; in fact, our solutions will improve your sleep and reduce the risk of other serious health concerns!
Why It’s Important to Diagnose and Treat Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a common disorder in which there are one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. These pauses may last from a few seconds to minutes and may occur up to several times an hour. Typically, normal breathing resumes with a loud snort or choking sound that can interfere with natural sleep. As a result, the quality of sleep is poor, which makes you tired during the day. If you have sleep apnea and it goes untreated, you could also be at risk of suffering:
Just because you snore, it doesn’t mean that you have sleep apnea. Snoring occurs when the air you breathe vibrates the tissues in the airway due to a blocked or narrowed air passage. Snoring isn’t considered sleep apnea unless it is accompanied by the slowed or stopped breathing during sleep, usually followed by a sudden gasp for air. This is why it’s important to visit your dentist to properly diagnose or rule out sleep apnea and pursue the appropriate treatment.
Schedule an Appointment
Whatever form the symptoms take, patients living with sleep apnea may feel that there are no convenient solutions. The Smiles @ Southcenter dental team in Tukwila would like to change your perception about living with sleep apnea, so we encourage you to make an appointment with us if you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea already or would like an exam if you are experiencing some telltale symptoms.
Sleep Apnea FAQs
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a term for obstructed breathing while you sleep. Sometimes, your own tongue and throat muscles relax unconsciously to block your windpipe, while it can also be related to large tonsils or other structural elements of your mouth, throat, and windpipe. Sleep apnea isn’t something that you can “catch” or prevent. However, overweight adults are typically at a higher risk of developing sleep apnea.
What are the Symptoms of Sleep Apnea?
Because sleep apnea symptoms are only present when sleeping, often it’s the partner of a patient who notices the symptoms first. Snoring is a common symptom, but snoring is not a definitive diagnosis since there are also sinus-related reasons to snore that have nothing to do with sleep apnea. During the day, patients might also experience headaches or sleepiness, but these symptoms are also hard to pinpoint directly to sleep apnea.
A more reliable sign is suspended breathing while asleep. This means a person may stop breathing for a few seconds periodically throughout the night and then resume with a large, deep breath. If the symptoms are not severe, only the partner may notice. In some cases, loud snoring or a long pause in breathing is strong enough to wake up the person with sleep apnea. If this happens to you a few times a week, please contact our office for an exam so we can help you sleep through the night!
What are the Treatment Options Available for Sleep Apnea?
The most well-known treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP machine. It works effectively to keep the patient breathing evenly by pushing air through a face mask worn at night, but it’s a large, somewhat noisy, and inconvenient device to keep by your bed each night.
Other methods for treating sleep apnea include dental appliances, upper airway surgery, nasal expiratory positive airway pressure and treatment using hypoglossal nerve stimulation.
Fortunately, sleep apnea patients can also talk to our team about Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). This device is much smaller and worn at night like a mouth guard to ensure your mouth and throat remain unobstructed throughout the night. Our dentists are trained in sleep medicine and can fit the oral appliance to your mouth for a comfortable and restful nights sleep.
How Does The Moses Oral Appliance Manage Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
At Smiles @ Southcenter, we’re proud to offer custom-fit Moses oral appliace therapy to help patients get a full night of sleep. This innovative device is simply the best in comfort, compliance and effective treatment of snoring and sleep apnea. The Moses repositions the lower jaw while you sleep, moving it forward to keep your airways open. An open airway gets rid of snoring and other symptoms associated with sleep apnea.
Why Purchase a Custom Oral Appliance Instead of a One-Size-Fits-All Device?
A one-size appliance purchased in a store won’t fit your mouth precisely, which can fail to solve (or even exacerbate) the problem. A trained dentist will make sure that a custom-fit device is safe, comfortable, and effective. Many insurance plans even cover the cost of an OAT.