Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Main Cause of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is typically caused by a combination of factors, the most common being:

Obstructive Factors: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most prevalent form and is often associated with a physical obstruction in the airway, such as excess weight, large tonsils or a recessed jaw.

Central Factors: Central sleep apnea (CSA) is less common and occurs when the brain fails to transmit the appropriate signals to the muscles responsible for controlling breathing.
Mixed Sleep Apnea: Some individuals experience a combination of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Does Sleep Apnea Affect My Health?

Yes, sleep apnea can significantly affect your health. It is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, daytime fatigue, mental health issues, weight gain, metabolic disturbances, and reduced immune function, among other complications. Timely and effective treatment is essential to mitigate these health risks.

What are Signs of Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea often goes undiagnosed because the most common symptoms occur while you’re asleep. If you or your partner notice any of the following signs, it’s essential to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation:

Loud Snoring: Frequent, loud snoring is one of the hallmark signs of sleep apnea. It may be punctuated by pauses in breathing.

Gasping or Choking: You may suddenly wake up during the night with a sensation of gasping or choking.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: Unexplained daytime fatigue, even after what seems like a full night’s sleep, is a common symptom.

Difficulty Concentrating: Sleep apnea can lead to poor concentration, memory problems, and difficulty focusing on tasks.

Morning Headaches: Waking up with a headache, particularly in the morning, can be a sign of sleep apnea.

Irritability: Frequent mood changes and irritability may result from disrupted sleep.

Restless Sleep: Constant tossing and turning during the night can be an indication of sleep apnea.

Frequent Urination: An increase in nighttime urination may be a sign of sleep apnea.

Will Sleep Apnea Go Away on Its Own?

Sleep apnea typically does not go away on its own, especially if it’s associated with anatomical or physiological factors. Without intervention, it can worsen over time and lead to various health issues. Therefore, it’s crucial to seek professional evaluation and treatment if you suspect you have sleep apnea.

Can Sleep Apnea Be Cured?

While there’s no universal “cure” for sleep apnea, effective treatment options can significantly reduce or eliminate symptoms. Many individuals experience improvements or complete resolution of sleep apnea by using treatments like oral appliances, PAP therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity and underlying causes.

Will Losing Weight Help Sleep Apnea?

Weight loss can be an effective strategy for managing sleep apnea, particularly if excess weight contributes to airway obstruction. Shedding pounds through a balanced diet and exercise can lead to reduced symptoms or even complete resolution in some cases. However, weight loss alone may not cure sleep apnea, and additional treatments may still be necessary.

How Do You Fix Sleep Apnea?

While sleep apnea may not always be “fixed” or entirely cured, it can be effectively managed and treated through various methods, including:
Oral Appliance Therapy: This non-invasive approach, offered at Sleep Solutions, involves custom-made dental devices that help keep your airway open during sleep.
Positive Airway Pressure (PAP) Therapy: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, or variants like BiPAP and AutoPAP, are commonly used to maintain an open airway during sleep.
Lifestyle Changes: Weight loss, regular exercise, and avoidance of alcohol and sedatives before bedtime can help reduce sleep apnea symptoms.
Surgery: In severe cases, surgical options such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or genioglossus advancement (GA) can be considered.
Positional Therapy: For some individuals, sleep apnea primarily occurs when sleeping in a particular position, and positional therapy can be effective.

Is a CPAP Machine the Only Thing I Can Use for Sleep Apnea?

No, a CPAP machine is not the only treatment option for sleep apnea. While it is highly effective, some people find it uncomfortable and may prefer alternative treatments. At Sleep Solutions, we offer oral appliance therapy as a non-invasive, CPAP-free solution. Additionally, lifestyle changes and surgical options can be considered, depending on the severity and individual needs of the patient. It’s crucial to discuss your options with Dr. Perry to determine the most suitable treatment for your specific condition.

What is Oral Appliance Therapy?

Oral appliance therapy is a non-invasive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. It involves the use of custom-made dental devices, also known as oral appliances, to reposition the jaw, tongue, and soft tissues in the throat, helping to keep the airway open during sleep. By preventing airway collapse and obstruction, these appliances can improve breathing and reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea and snoring.

How is Oral Appliance Therapy Different from CPAP?

Oral appliance therapy and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) are both effective treatments for sleep apnea, but they work differently:

Oral Appliance Therapy: Involves wearing a custom-made dental appliance that repositions the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open. It is non-invasive, portable, and does not require a mask or machinery.

CPAP: Utilizes a machine that delivers a continuous stream of pressurized air through a mask to keep the airway open. It is highly effective but can be cumbersome and may not be well-tolerated by all patients.

Do Oral Appliances Work as Well as CPAP?

The effectiveness of oral appliances compared to CPAP depends on the individual and the severity of their sleep apnea. For mild to moderate sleep apnea and some cases of severe sleep apnea, oral appliances can be as effective as CPAP. They may be preferred by individuals who find CPAP uncomfortable or difficult to use. The choice between the two treatments should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider.

Can a Dentist Make an Oral Therapy Appliance?

Yes, who better to make one than a dentist? Dr. Perry has extensive expertise in dental sleep medicine and can make a custom, oral therapy appliance for you. These appliances are specifically designed to fit your mouth comfortably and effectively reposition the jaw and soft tissues to prevent airway obstruction during sleep.

How Long Will it Take for My Oral Appliance to Work?

The time it takes for an oral appliance to work can vary from person to person. Some individuals experience immediate relief from snoring and sleep apnea symptoms, while others may require an adjustment period to become accustomed to wearing the appliance. It’s essential to work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure that the appliance is properly fitted and adjusted for optimal effectiveness.

When Do I Wear My Oral Therapy Appliance?

Oral appliances for sleep apnea and snoring are typically worn during sleep, at night. You should follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations regarding the proper usage and wear the appliance consistently to experience the best results.

Will My Insurance Pay for My Oral Therapy Appliance?

Insurance coverage for oral appliance therapy can vary depending on your insurance plan, your specific diagnosis, and the terms of your policy. Many insurance providers do offer coverage for oral appliances when they are prescribed as a medically necessary treatment for sleep apnea. It’s essential to check with your insurance company and Sleep Solutions to determine the extent of coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur.

What is the Main Cause of Snoring?

The primary cause of snoring is the vibration of relaxed throat tissues during sleep. Several factors can contribute to this vibration, including:

Obstructed Airways: Narrowed or obstructed airways due to factors like excess weight, large tonsils, or a deviated septum can lead to snoring.

Muscle Relaxation: When the muscles in the back of the throat relax excessively during sleep, they can partially block the airway, resulting in snoring.

Alcohol and Sedatives: The consumption of alcohol or sedative medications can relax throat muscles and increase the likelihood of snoring.

Is Snoring Bad for My Health?

In itself, snoring is generally not harmful, but it can disrupt your sleep and the sleep of those around you. Severe or chronic snoring may indicate underlying health issues, such as sleep apnea, which can have negative health consequences, as mentioned earlier. Addressing snoring can improve sleep quality and overall well-being.

How Can I Stop Snoring?

There are several strategies to help reduce or stop snoring, depending on its underlying cause:

Lifestyle Changes: Implementing healthy lifestyle habits, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime, and establishing regular sleep patterns, can often reduce snoring.

Positional Therapy: For individuals who primarily snore when sleeping on their backs, sleeping on their side can be effective in minimizing snoring.

Oral Appliances: Custom-made dental devices, such as those offered at Sleep Solutions, can reposition the jaw and tongue to keep the airway open during sleep, reducing snoring.

NightLase with LightWalker Laser: This innovative laser treatment can tighten and reshape throat tissues, reducing the severity of snoring.

Can Snoring Be Cured?

In many cases, snoring can be effectively managed or eliminated through lifestyle changes, positional therapy, oral appliances, or laser treatments like NightLase. However, whether snoring can be fully cured depends on the individual’s underlying causes and the chosen treatment approach.

Does Snoring Mean I Have Sleep Apnea?

While snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is characterized by more significant airway obstruction, leading to interrupted breathing during sleep. If you or your partner notice other signs, such as loud, frequent snoring punctuated by gasping or choking, excessive daytime sleepiness, and difficulty concentrating, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for evaluation.

Will Losing Weight Stop Snoring?

For individuals whose snoring is associated with excess weight, losing weight can be an effective strategy to reduce or eliminate snoring. Excess weight can lead to the accumulation of fatty tissue in the throat, which narrows the airway and increases the likelihood of snoring. Weight loss can help alleviate this issue.

What Is Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy is an innovative, non-invasive laser treatment designed to address snoring and mild-to-moderate sleep apnea. It utilizes advanced laser technology to tighten and reshape the tissues in the throat and mouth. This tightening of the tissues reduces the vibration and airway obstruction that typically causes snoring and can lead to improved airflow during sleep.

How Does Laser Therapy Work?

Laser therapy operates on the principle of collagen remodeling. The laser delivers gentle energy to the tissues in the throat, stimulating the production of collagen and causing the tissues to tighten and contract. This process reduces the relaxation and vibration of throat tissues during sleep, which is a common cause of snoring.

Can Laser Therapy Stop My Snoring?

Yes, lasers can be used to eliminate or reduce snoring. Laser therapy treatment, as offered by Sleep Solutions, is a non-invasive and effective option. This treatment works by tightening and reshaping the tissues in the throat, which can reduce the severity of snoring. It is a convenient, well tolerated, with zero downtime alternative for those looking to address their snoring issues without surgery or more invasive procedures.

Is Laser Therapy Painful?

Laser therapy is well-tolerated by most patients and is a comfortable and minimally invasive procedure. It does not involve incisions, anesthesia, or discomfort typically associated with surgical interventions. Patients may feel a gentle warming or tingling sensation during the treatment, but it is not typically described as painful.

Are There Any Side Effects With Laser Therapy?

Laser therapy is a low-risk procedure with minimal side effects. While some patients may experience mild and temporary throat irritation or discomfort following the treatment, these effects are short-lived and manageable. It is essential to discuss any potential side effects with Dr. Perry before undergoing the procedure.

How Long Does A Laser Therapy Session Take?

The duration of a laser therapy treatment session is relatively short and typically lasts around 20 to 30 minutes and has zero downtime. This makes it a convenient and time-efficient option for individuals seeking to address snoring without undergoing more invasive procedures.

How Many Laser Therapy Treatments Will I Need?

The number of laser therapy treatments required can vary depending on the severity of your snoring or sleep apnea and your individual response to the treatment. A minimum of three sessions with a maintenance session every 6-18 months is required. Some patients may need more than the minimum of three sessions. All sessions are spaced several weeks apart for maximum effectiveness. The exact treatment plan is often determined after a thorough evaluation by Dr. Perry.

How Long Does The Laser Therapy Treatment Results Last For?

The duration of the effects of laser therapy treatment may vary among individuals. Some people experience lasting improvements, while others may require periodic maintenance sessions to sustain the results. In many cases, the benefits of laser therapy can be expected to last for around 6 to 12 months or more. However, individual outcomes can depend on factors such as the severity of snoring, lifestyle choices, and the aging process. It’s essential to consult with Dr. Perry for personalized guidance on the duration and maintenance of your laser therapy treatment results.

Is Laser Therapy FDA Approved?

Yes, it is FDA approved. Laser therapy has been in use throughout the world since 2010.

Will My Insurance Cover Laser Therapy?

Insurance coverage for laser therapy or similar non-surgical snoring treatments may vary depending on your insurance provider and the specific terms of your policy. Many insurance plans do not cover elective or cosmetic procedures, so it’s essential to check with your insurance company to determine if laser therapy is covered or if you will need to cover the costs out of pocket.

How Much Does Laser Therapy Cost?

The cost of laser therapy treatment can vary depending on several factors, the extent of the treatment, and the number of sessions required. It is advisable to set-up a consultation with Sleep Solutions directly to get specific pricing information tailored to your individual needs. Remember that the cost of non-invasive treatments like laser therapy is often more affordable than surgical alternatives and may provide a significant improvement in snoring, sleep quality and overall health.