Treatment for sleep apnea differs based on the cause and severity of your condition. In many cases, lifestyle changes are necessary to help the patient lose weight and reduce stress. Often, a custom-designed oral appliance will effectively treat sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, can increase your risk of conditions such as hypertension and heart disease. Therefore, you should speak to your doctor if you or your partner are experiencing symptoms. Understanding sleep apnea and its symptoms can help you make the first steps towards better sleep and better overall health.
OSA involves a physical blockage of the airway during sleep, while central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain fails to regulate breathing while you sleep. CSA is the rarer of the two conditions and is much more difficult. It requires the attention of a specialist.
During your visit to our Metairie office, we will begin with an analysis of your symptoms. This information is paired with the results of any sleep studies you have undergone, your medical history, and a scan of your airway with 3-D advanced cone beam technology.
An oral appliance will move the lower jaw slightly forward, helping to prevent the collapse of soft tissues that results in the obstruction of breathing.
Patients that seek treatment with Dr. Jeffrey Gregson will undergo detailed 3D scans with the Orthophos, a state-of-the-art 3-D advanced cone beam scanner. The machine is safe, provides exceptionally detailed images, and is used in our dental office every day to produce some of the most precise diagnoses available. Our doctors use all the data they gather from the cone beam scanner and pair it information obtained during your examination and consultation to recommend the right course of treatment.
If you have not completed a sleep study, or if it has been some time since your last one, we will plan a traditional sleep study or arrange for a home sleep study. A sleep study is coordinated with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist). This study will provide essential information about your condition and the best way to proceed. In some cases, measures such as adopting a healthier diet and engaging in regular exercise can help patients lose weight and reduce stress, improving sleep apnea symptoms. In other cases, patients may need to lessen or cease alcohol intake. Since smoking often contributes to OSA, stopping the habit can significantly reduce benefits and provide many other health benefits.
Doctors may determine that an oral appliance is necessary to treat your sleep apnea. Upon determination by your doctors, we can begin the process of crafting your device once the diagnosis and insurance coverage is confirmed. We work with laboratories that specialize in creating precise custom devices with a fast turnaround. For your comfort, we can usually make minor adjustments to your completed oral appliance, and we have some models available that you can adjust yourself.
You should notice improvements very soon after beginning treatment with an oral device. We will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. When properly used alongside any prescribed lifestyle changes that address the cause of your sleep apnea, you can usually expect treatment to last for a few weeks to a month or two.
Most medical insurance plans cover the cost of sleep apnea treatment with a doctor’s approval following a diagnosis, though dental insurance often does not. A few medical insurance forms will need to be completed and submitted, which you should ask your physician or otolaryngologist to provide. Our staff can assist you in this process.