What is Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious condition where your airway is blocked by excess tissue, reducing the level of oxygen traveling to your brain. This causes you to stop breathing while sleeping and wake up gasping for air.
The only way to determine if you suffer from sleep apnea is to take an overnight sleep study or an at-home sleep test. Once you’ve been diagnosed, Drs. Van Gorden and Steinbach will help you find the treatment options that work best based on your needs and preferences.
What Is a CPAP Machine?
Doctors typically offer a CPAP, or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine, to treat sleep apnea. A mask is connected to the machine to pump air into your airway, clearing the obstruction in your throat that’s interrupting your breathing while you sleep.
A CPAP machine is an effective treatment that works for many patients, but a lot of our patients in Basalt, CO are unhappy with it. Patients often fail to wear their CPAP machine for the recommended time each night, or even stop using it all together because it’s loud, uncomfortable, and intrusive.
Quiet & Comfortable Oral Appliances
One effective alternative to a CPAP machine is an oral appliance. This non-invasive device fits comfortably and securely in your mouth. It relieves sleep apnea symptoms by gently shifting your lower jaw forward to clear the obstruction that’s preventing you from breathing properly.
Oral appliances are worn at night, and they’re similar to a sports mouthguard. They’re easy to use, quiet, and convenient — best of all, each oral appliance is custom-made just for you.
Holistic Sleep Apnea Care
As a holistically focused practice, we want to educate our patients about the importance of complete wellness. That’s why Drs. Van Gorden and Steinbach recommend various natural approaches to help alleviate sleep apnea symptoms and achieve a better night’s sleep.
Some general techniques for improving sleep include aromatherapy, listening to calming music, and practicing relaxation techniques before bed. There are also a number of lifestyle changes that can help relieve sleep apnea symptoms and snoring, including:
- Reducing or eliminating smoking can affect the severity of your condition
- Limiting alcohol consumption will help lessen sleep apnea symptoms
- Adopting a healthy diet can help you lose weight, reducing excess tissue
- Positional therapy to adjust your sleeping position can alleviate snoring
- Throat and mouth exercises strengthen your muscles to reduce symptoms
Treating Sleep Apnea With Surgery
In some cases, surgery is recommended for sleep apnea patients to reduce or eliminate their symptoms. Some surgeries include removing expanding tonsils or excess tissue and widening the airways in your nose or throat.
Although these are highly effective in certain cases, they’re also very invasive. Before surgery is considered, we explore all possible treatment options.
With the help of Fotona’s NightLase, our Basalt dental office can improve your quality of sleep and help you get a better night’s rest. NightLase is a non-invasive, patient-friendly laser treatment used to reduce or eliminate the effects of sleep apnea and snoring.
The laser works by generating a tightening effect caused by the contraction of collagen in the oral mucosa tissue. Research has shown high success rates in producing positive change in sleep patterns.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the recovery process after Nightlase therapy?
What makes NightLase such a notable treatment for snoring is the fact that unlike surgery there is no downtime. So you can literally walk in the office and have the procedure done, and return to your normal routine immediately.
Is there any way to cure sleep apnea?
For the most extensive patient cases, surgery may be required to eliminate symptoms associated with sleep apnea. However, this is only used as a last resort. Thankfully, Drs. Van Gordon and Steinbach offer various ways of treating sleep apnea before surgery is even considered.
If you’re experiencing sleep apnea symptoms, schedule a consultation by calling (970) 279-5647. During the consultation Drs. Van Gordon or Steinbach will examine your symptoms and determine if you would benefit from a sleep study.
How is sleep apnea diagnosed?
For a clear diagnosis, a sleep study is required. Patients can choose to undergo a sleep study supervised by a physician or they can participate in an at-home sleep study. An at-home sleep test is performed in the privacy of your own home without supervision. You’ll just bring the equipment home and follow the instructions. The information will be reviewed after your test and you’ll be notified if you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea.
Do insurance companies cover oral appliances?
Most insurance companies do cover a portion of the expenses. We suggest contacting your provider before your appointment to have a better understanding of coverage. We also offer flexible financing options so you don’t have to put your dental needs on hold.
At Elevate Dental Wellness, Drs. Van Gorden and Steinbach will take the time to listen to your concerns and find the right treatment to fit your lifestyle. Contact our Basalt office at (970) 279-5647 to learn more about our sleep apnea treatments.
You can also schedule a free consultation with one of our dentists. Whether your sleep apnea is mild or severe, our team will make sure you receive the best possible care for your condition.