Sleep Apnea

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Dr. Fred Schilling is a Diplomate of the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines.

Facts about Sleep Apnea

  • Sleep apnea is a common breathing disorder in which you have dozens to hundreds of pauses in breathing or shallow breaths while you sleep.
  • Sleep apnea usually is a chronic (ongoing) condition that results in slope reflexes, poor concentration, and increased risk of accidents.
  • Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed. Doctors usually can’t detect the condition during routine office visits. Also, there are no blood tests for the condition. Most people who have sleep apnea don’t know they have it because it only occurs during sleep.
  • The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep. This may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses.
  • Sleep apnea can cause daytime sleepiness, increase the risk for or worsen some medical conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, strokes, and weight gain.
  • It’s estimated that more than 12 million American adults have sleep apnea. More than half of the people who have this condition are overweight.
  • The most common signs of sleep apnea are loud snoring and choking or gasping during sleep and being very sleepy during the day.
  • Doctors diagnose sleep apnea based on your medical and family histories, a physical exam, and results from sleep studies.
  • Treatment is aimed at restoring regular breathing during sleep and relieving symptoms. Treatment also may help other medical problems linked to sleep apnea.
  • Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, breathing devices, and/or surgery are used to treat sleep apnea. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is the most common treatment for moderate to severe sleep apnea.
  • Sleep apnea can be very serious. However, following an effective treatment plan can often improve your quality of life quite a bit. Follow up with your doctor regularly to make sure your treatment is working. Tell him or her if the treatment causes side effects that you can’t handle.
  • Family members can help a person who snores loudly or stops breathing during sleep by encouraging him or her to get medical help.
  • Treatment may improve your overall health and happiness as well as your quality of sleep (and possibly your family’s quality of sleep).

 Learn more about Sleep Apnea ->

Drowsy Driving Facts

  • Are you sleeping well?
  • Do you snore?
  • Are you always tired?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you have hypertension or diabetes?
  • Do you suffer from frequent headaches?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you could suffer from Sleep Disordered Breathing, a potentially fatal condition!

Talk to Dr. Schilling about treatment with Oral Appliances. Contact Skyway Dental Clinic to schedule your appointment.

If you drive while tired, you could be putting yourself and others in great danger.
• 200,000 reported automobile accidents are sleep-related.
• 1/3 of all trucking accidents are sleep-related.
• 4 innocent victims die for every commercial trucker who dies
-Federal Department of Transportation

• 37% of drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel at some point in their driving career. That’s 103 million people!
• 13% of drivers admit to falling asleep at the wheel once a month.
• 60% of drivers report falling asleep while driving on a highway driving at speeds of 55MPH or higher.
-National Highway Traffic Safety Administration & National Safety Council

Don’t sleep well? It’s dangerous…
• People who sleep 6-7 hours a night are 2 times as likely to be involved in a crash as those sleeping 8 hours or more.
• People sleeping less than 5 hours increase their risk of a crash by 400% – 500%.
-National Sleep Foundation
Driving while tired is like driving drunk!
Remember, legally drunk is .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)
• Being awake for 18 hours is similar to having a BAC of .05.
• Being awake for 24 hours is similar to having a BAC of .10.
-National Sleep Foundation

If you think you or someone you know might suffer from sleep disordered breathing, call Dr. Schilling at (612) 338-4122.

Stay safe on the road!

Sleep Apnea FAQ

Does my insurance cover treatment? It depends on the type of insurance you have. If you have an HMO, you are required to get clearance from your primary care physician for initial evaluation, referral to the sleep lab for the diagnosis, and referral to the dentist for the oral appliance. If you have a PPO or Traditional insurance, it will depend on the policy coverage.

How much does the treatment cost? The total cost of treatment will depend on the course of treatment, whether or not you have insurance, and what type of insurance coverage you have.

Does Medicare cover the treatment? Yes, but it is a different process than other insurance; however, oral appliance therapy does tend to be covered.

How long does the treatment take? From the first time that the patient receives the diagnosis of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and sees the dentist, the length of treatment is three to six weeks depending on the availability of the patient for appointments.

Will I be required to return to the same dental office for follow-up care? The patient is encouraged to return to the dental office on a six month basis for the first year and then yearly after that to determine the efficacy of the appliance.

I have full upper and lower dentures, can I still have an oral appliance? Yes. Duplication of the upper and lower dentures can be completed in the dental office and the oral appliance is fitted directly to the duplicated dentures.

I have not had dental care in quite some time. Will I be required to complete all dental care prior to the apliance being inserted? A provisional or transitional appliance can be fabricated prior to the dental treatment being completed. This will allow the patient to have the oral appliance throughout any subsequent dental care.

Is there an extra fee for the provisional appliance? Provisional appliances are usually in the $300 to $600 range and can be fabricated in one office visit.

Do I need to have an overnight study in the sleep lab? Yes. The purpose of the sleep study (Home Sleep Testing or In-Clinic Sleep Study) is to eliminate any other neurological problems that may be coexisting with the obstructive sleep apnea.

If I am claustrophobia, can I still have an oral appliance? There are many appliances that deal with patients who have claustrophobia to allow for adequate tongue movement to ensure that the condition is not a problem.

I have a latex allergy, can I have an oral appliance? Yes. Most appliances are either vinyl or acrylic and will not cause any allergic reaction.

I am presently taking medication for reflux. Will the oral appliance help or reduce my use of the medication? There is sufficient literature to show the high percentage of reflux is directly related to Sleep Apnea. Successful treatment may lead to reduced usage of the medication.

I am presently taking medication for hypertension. Will the oral appliance help or reduce my use of this medication? Your blood pressure will be monitored at every appointment in this dental office. You will be referred back to your cardiologist (or other specialist whose care you are under) to determine if there is a need to reduce or eliminate the hypertensive medication.

Will this oral device help my snoring? Oral devices have been used since the early 1980’s for patients with snoring. The initial device wil reduce the amount of snoring to a point that it is tolerable for the bed partner and hopefully will eliminate snoring completely.

Are there any long-term problems with the use of an oral appliance? Yes. Oral appliances that are not fabricated correctly can cause gum disease, space between teeth and/or change in the biting surface of the teeth. However, if the appliance is fabricated by a dentist following accepted protocol, this will be kept to a minimum if not totally eliminated.

What are the side effects of use of an oral appliance? Initially, there will be an increase in salive which will normally cease in one to two weeks. The patient may also experience some sore teeth until the appliance is adjusted properly. If any jaw pain results upon wakening, the patient is instructed to return to the dental office immediately.

How do I know that the oral appliance will benefit me? The dentist will evaluate you to determine whether or not the jaw position change will be beneficial. If sufficient improvement in the airway is not possible, then the patient will not be deemed a candidate for oral appliance therapy at this time. The dentist has a 95% chance of obtaining success using oral appliance therapy.

I have been told that I need a surgical procedure to correct my problem. Prior to surgical procedures being done, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends a trial period of usage of an oral appliance to see if the severity of the apnea can be reduced.

How long have oral appliances been used to treat OSA? In 1995, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (ASM) issued a position paper stating that oral appliance were the second line of treatment for CPAP non-compliance patients. In February 2006, however, the ASM published a position paper stating that oral appliances are now the gold standard for mild to moderate cases of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and should be used prior to opting for a surgical procedure for severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

How often will my appliance have to be remade, and will my insurance cover it? Patients frequently have extensive dental work done which will require the oral appliance to be remade. However, a dentist can get a pre-determination from the patient’s insurance carrier explaining the reason for the re-fabrication of the appliance. In most instances, the medical insurance carrier will replace oral appliances on a three-to-five year basis with an explanation as to the reason for replacement.

Does my dental insurance cover any of this treatment? No. All of these fees will be submitted under your medical insurance. Any deductibles that are required by the medical insurance company must be satisfied.

Sleep Disordered Breathing in Children

  1. Does your child sleep in an abnormal position, with his/her head off of the bed or propped up with pillows?
  2. Does your child snore loudly?
  3. Does your child stop breathing during the night for period of 10 to 20 seconds followed by choking, gasping, or waking up?
  4. Does your child sweat heavily during sleep?
  5. Does your child sleep restlessly?
  6. Does your child wet the bed?
  7. Does your child have swollen tonsils and/or adenoids?
  8. Is your child difficult to wake up, even though sleep should have been long enough?
  9. Does your child have headaches during the day, particularly in the morning?
  10. Is your child irritable, aggressive, or cranky?
  11. Does your child fall asleep or daydream in school or at home?
  12. Is he or she having school-related or other behavioral problems?
  13. Has he or she been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD)?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your child could suffer from Sleep Disordered Breathing (SDB).

Sleep Disordered Breathing is the result of nighttime respiratory problems due to an abstructed, narrowed or collapsed airway. SDB affetcs adults and children alike.

  • Your child’s snoring or labored breathing may be the vibration of the airway against swollen tonsils or adenoids as air tries to pass through to the lungs.
  • It could also be a result of constriction due to structural problems in the teeth, jaw, or nasal passages.
  • SDB ranges in severity, from snoring to differing degrees of airway obstruction. At its most severe, the child chokes and wakes up.
  • Your child may need an evaluation by an ENT, dentist, or physician. A polysomnography (overnight sleep study) may also be indicated.