Simply defined, sleep apnea occurs when a patient regularly stops breathing for ten or more seconds at a time while resting. These instances, known as “apnea,” can occur dozens or even hundreds of times every single night. At Sleep Better Baytown, we offer a variety of options for sleep apnea therapy in Baytown, TX.
There are two major types of sleep apnea. Central Sleep Apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain fails to send out a signal to the body during sleep that it should inhale and exhale. However, the much more common type is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which occurs when there’s some sort of blockage in the airway that prevents oxygen from successfully reaching the rest of the body. In rare instances, a patient will experience a combination of these two types of sleep apnea.
No two cases of sleep apnea are exactly the same, and symptoms can vary from patient to patient. However, there are some common indicators that you should be on the lookout for:
The first major step towards helping patients with sleep apnea is determining whether they’re a victim of CSA or OSA. At Sleep Better Baytown, our initial recommendation will be for you to complete the STOP-BANG assessment, which is a short and simple “yes” or “no” survey that can indicate your overall risk. If the results come back positive, it will be time to undergo a sleep study. Finally, once Dr. Hutto understands the exact cause and severity of your symptoms, treatment planning can commence.
Patients who are determined to suffer from mild to moderate OSA should be able to achieve lasting relief with a custom-made oral appliance. In fact, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine strongly recommends that this should be the first therapy method that dentists and doctors recommend. If the patient is experiencing severe OSA/CSA, traditional CPAP treatment or combined therapy (the use of both a CPAP and an oral appliance) is likely to be more effective.
One of the earliest indications of sleep apnea in a patient is often snoring. Snoring occurs in much the same way as singing, speech, and laughter all do – air vibrates throughout the mouth and against the throat and tongue. This can occur when the airway is experiencing a minor obstruction during sleep. While breathing may not be entirely hindered, it can still lead to patients struggling to inhale and exhale to the fullest extent. Over time, chronic snoring can lead to the gradual development of sleep apnea because of these difficulties.
If you don’t currently experience full-blown sleep apnea but still snore loudly on a consistent basis, we recommend that you reach out to Sleep Better Baytown and schedule a consultation. Dr. Hutto can design an oral appliance that helps repositions the mouth comfortably and reduces your lifelong risk for health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, and other negative consequences caused by a lack of good sleep.
Learn More About Snoring and Sleep Dentistry
For many years, CPAP machines have been considered the gold standard when it comes to sleep apnea treatment. While it’s true that advanced cases of OSA or CSA may still require CPAP intervention for true relief, the ugly truth is that an alarming majority of patients are actually CPAP intolerant.
When using a CPAP, the patient must wear a mask that covers their face and/or nose and forces air down their lungs. The machinery is notorious for being loud as well, and many people simply can’t get used to the sights and sounds associated with it. If you are a chronic snorer or have been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep apnea, Dr. Dean Hutto strongly recommends giving oral appliance therapy a try first. Our practice offers several different brands of appliances that can be used to conservatively and comfortably reposition the jaw as you rest easy, helping the airway stay open and unencumbered. These oral appliances are also very easy to keep clean and small enough that they can be traveled without any strain. Best of all, patients are much more likely to use them consistently!
In most cases, a patient’s medical insurance will cover the cost of oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea. Recently, some dental insurance plans have also begun to include this type of coverage. Our team here in Baytown, TX is very knowledgeable about all matters regarding insurance, and we’ll be happy to file claims, work directly with providers, and help patients maximize the reimbursements they deserve.