Potential Health Issues
From Untreated Sleep Apnea
Continuously interrupted sleep can result in serious health-related problems.
Potential health issues that may result from untreated sleep apnea include:
High blood pressure
Inability to concentrate
of Sleep Apnea
- Frequent, loud snoring
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Chronic exhaustion even after a full night’s sleep
- Gasping, choking or snorting during sleep
- Morning headaches
- Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- High blood pressure
- Poor memory, moodiness or difficulty concentrating
- Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
CPAP not working?
You’re not alone. Approximately 83% of CPAP patients quit or are inconsistent in their therapy.
When a patient cannot tolerate CPAP, they neglect to use it. This non-compliance is referred to as CPAP intolerance or CPAP failure.
CPAP failure is often caused by issues outside of your control:
- Seasonal allergies or ongoing congestion
- Nasal, sinus or upper palate issues (such as a deviated septum)
- Skin irritation on face
- Nasal irritation, dryness or bleeding
- Claustrophobia or sensation of suffocation
- Respiratory infections
- Abdominal bloating & gas
- Machine disturbs sleep (or partner’s sleep)
These and other issues make CPAP failure common for many obstructive sleep apnea sufferers.
Sleep Apnea Risk Quiz
Important Considerations for Sleep Apnea
Check all that apply. Use this brief questionnaire and checklist to determine if you might be at risk for sleep apnea.
Please call (828) 437-7300 to schedule your sleep consultation.
Sleep Apnea Consultation
Our doctors feel so strongly that knowledge and action can improve and save lives that they are offering a no-cost individual 30 minute consultation on sleep breathing disorders. Whether it’s loud snoring or other sleep apnea symptoms, make sure you are not at risk for this very treatable, potentially life threatening condition. Learn more about sleep apnea and get all of your questions answered. We have a limited number of consultation times available, so schedule yours as soon as possible.
At-Home Sleep Test
A Comfortable Alternative
If during your consultation it is suspected that you may suffer from sleep apnea, we will assist you in ordering a convenient and accurate home sleep test designed to assist in the diagnosis of sleep-disordered breathing. In the comfort of your own bed, you’ll wear the testing device while sleeping. A Board Certified Sleep Physician will interpret the data and we will contact you to discuss your results.
Oral Appliance Therapy
A Convenient Alternative to CPAP
These devices are custom fitted by dentists with special expertise and training in treating sleep apnea. They fit in the mouth, similar to a retainer or mouth guard. They open your airway by moving your lower jaw and tongue forward while you sleep. They are small, comfortable and effective.
- No noise from machines or in-mask breathing
- Easy to clean
- Small and portable
- Convenient for travel
- No electricity required
- Comfortable and easy to use
- Reduce or prevent bruxism (grinding)
- No hoses to get tangled in during sleep
- No mask to cause skin irritations
- No feelings of claustrophobia
Benefits of Treatment
What’s the process?
The process is simple. First, come in for a free consultation, together we’ll determine if this is the right option for you. If it is, we’ll coordinate with your insurance company for coverage.
Second, we’ll custom fit your new oral appliance.
Third, you enjoy a good night’s rest.
A Message From
William T. Link DDS
I was “forced” by my wife to be evaluated over 10 years ago because I stopped breathing when I was asleep. I went for a sleep test and was told I had severe sleep apnea and was given a CPAP. No one ever really explained what was happening or the significant health risks associated with sleep apnea. I had no idea what an AHI was- just that I needed to use the machine. I did sleep better and feel better but felt like I should know more.
A little over 7 years ago I came across an online CE class on sleep apnea and decided to take it. The information in there made me REALLY want to know more. Since then I have taken over 150 hours of Continuing Education related to dental sleep medicine. I have completed the Dental Sleep Medicine Mini-Residency sponsored by UNC School of Dentistry and the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. I was just accepted as a “Qualified” dentist for the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine.
I am passionate about helping people with sleep related breathing disorders. There are so many un-diagnosed people and the health consequences can be severe. Healthy sleep is as important as exercise and a healthy diet.
Regarding Sleep Apnea
Snoring frequently accompanies sleep apnea but it is not always an indicator of whether this sleep condition is present. However, snoring can indicate that bulky throat tissue could potentially obstruct airways – especially if patients have certain lifestyle factors that contribute to sleep apnea. Fortunately, the treatment we offer for sleep apnea and snoring is the same. By prescribing a custom oral appliance, the diameter of the airway can be widened to prevent the sounds of snoring as well as episodes of apnea. These oral appliances are soft and comfortable to wear. They work by positioning the lower jaw slightly forward so that the airway is no longer obstructed.
Anyone of any age can have sleep apnea. Even though snoring can accompany sleep apnea, it is not always a symptom of this sleep disorder. For this reason, it is important to have a sleep study conducted to determine if apnea is occurring. Our practice provides take-home sleep study machinery to detect episodes of apnea during sleep. After usage, the device will be returned to our practice and we will analyze the data collected. If we find that sleep apnea is present or determine if snoring is obstructing one’s quality of life, we will provide treatment recommendations.
The exact cause of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different for each person. Anyone can develop it, regardless of age or gender. The most common risk factors include:
- Being over age 40
- Having a large neck (over 17 inches in men, 16 inches for women)
- Being overweight – approximately half of OSA sufferers are overweight
- Being male – more men than women suffer from OSA
- Having a large tongue or small jaw
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids (particularly in children)
- Using alcohol or sedatives which relax the muscles in the airway
- Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum or sinus and allergy problems
While CPAP is very effective in treating sleep apnea, many people cannot tolerate the discomfort of the mask and the inconvenience and noise of the machine. Therefore a high percentage of users have difficulty or will not wear them.
An oral appliance is a popular alternative to the CPAP. This device is small, portable, fits more comfortably and can provide similar treatment benefits.
You will have a follow-up sleep study while using your oral appliance to confirm the effectiveness of the device. A consultation with the sleep medicine physician will be necessary to interpret the results.
Because insurance plans vary widely, our experienced team will work with you to see if your insurance company will cover the oral appliance. If for any reason it isn’t covered, we will let you know and work with you to develop a financial plan if needed.
If coverage is available for oral appliances, it will come from your medical insurance carrier. Most dental insurance companies do not cover treatment of obstructive sleep apnea.
Our patients tell us it is well worth the investment of their time and money to treat their sleep apnea because of the improved quality of life they experience.
We offer financing options and will work with you to find a solution that fits your needs.
The majority of patients will adapt to the appliance within 5-10 days. It will take a few days to get used to having a device in your mouth while you sleep. The appliance will not hurt your teeth. If your teeth are sore after initial use, we can easily adjust it for your comfort.
They are made of hard acrylic, which is very durable. They are typically replaced every 3-5 years depending on wear and tear. If you grind your teeth, you may have a more frequent rate of repair or replacement.
A change in your bite is possible. Depending on the position of your teeth and the status of your bone, your teeth may shift. This can be minimized with the use of a morning re-positioning device.
While there are over-the-counter appliances you can order, keep in mind these are not FDA approved for treating sleep apnea. Additionally, when not fitted properly they may cause unwanted side effects such as jaw problems or excessive tooth movement.
The most common side effect is morning muscle soreness that usually goes away after a short time. Some patients may experience either dry mouth or excessive salivation. As mentioned above, minor tooth movement occurs in some patients.
Obstructive sleep apnea in unlikely to decrease with age; therefore your oral appliance will probably be a lifelong therapy. However, certain wellness factors such as significant weight loss may improve your symptoms.