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What is sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea and is caused by complete or partial obstructions of the upper airway.  The biggest issue is the tongue falling back into the throat while asleep.

Why do we snore?

When the airway is partially obstructed, we snore.  As we draw a breath, the opening it passes through is partially obstructed and the air rushes in faster, causing the surrounding tissues to vibrate and create the classic snoring sound.

What happens when the airway is totally obstructed?

When the airway is totally obstructed, we stop breathing.  When we stop breathing, our blood oxygen levels drop, our heart speeds up, and our blood pressure increases.  Think of running your car engine with no oil.  Bad things happen.

Sleep apnea has been linked with an increased risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, heart attack, Alzheimer’s and diabetes, to name a few.

If our heart is healthy enough, we awaken suddenly, gasping for breath.  Once we breathe, our heart rate drops and our blood oxygen goes up, and we fall back to sleep --until the next time our tongue blocks our airway and the whole process cycles again.  This process can continually repeat itself throughout the night, wreaking havoc on our organs as well as preventing us from getting restful sleep when our body should be replenishing itself.

If our heart is not healthy enough, it may stall out during one of these stressful apnea episodes, and we may never wake up.

How do I know if I have obstructive sleep apnea?

There is a simple home test you can take in the comfort of your own bed, rather than at night in a sleep lab, which may be inconvenient and uncomfortable.

What can be done to treat sleep apnea?

There are basically 3 treatments for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

  1. Surgery to enlarge the airway
  2. CPAP (continuous positive air pressure), which forces the airway to remain open
  3. Oral appliance (mouthpiece)

What are the benefits of an oral appliance?

An oral appliance is the most conservative, least invasive, and most comfortable way to treat sleep apnea.  

Surgery has proven to be painful and invasive, with only a 50% success rate.  It does not address the tongue, which is the major factor in blocking the airway.

A CPAP machine has a face mask, held in place by straps, connected by hose to a noisy bedside machine that forces air down your throat.  Most people find it uncomfortable to sleep with, and therefore do not wear it.  Some of the main complaints include air leaks, strap marks on the face, limited mobility during sleep, and difficulty in cleaning and traveling with the machine.

How does an oral appliance work?

The oral appliance is a mouthpiece that gently pulls the lower jaw forward, thereby moving the tongue out of the airway.

Why is the Zyppah appliance better that traditional appliances?

The Zyppah appliance employs elastics to pull the lower jaw forward, ensuring that the jaw can move freely in any direction during the night.  All other appliances lock the jaw in place, making it less comfortable and more likely to cause jaw pain.

Why does a dentist insert it?

A dentist is the only medical professional who can adequately fabricate, fit and service an oral appliance.

Does my insurance cover it?

Your benefits will fall under your medical insurance, not your dental.  All insurance plans differ on benefits.  We will determine the benefits your plan provides before any treatment is begun.

Ready to Stop Snoring?

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