“Patients who have been treated by CPAP, but refuse to use it, are not being treated at all,” states Dr. Willey at the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine.
We have some patients who come to us and tell us they simply cannot get used to the masks they have tried or that the mask makes them feel claustrophobic. Others tell us it restricts their movement and that the hose gets wrapped up when they roll over. If these feelings are your feelings also, and your CPAP is collecting dust under the bed, you are probably still experiencing symptoms, possibly driving drowsy and still at risk for many of Sleep Apnea’s Dirty Dozen (see insert to right.) The good news is, you don’t have to keep feeling this way!
There are over 50 million persons in the United States alone who suffer from Sleep Disordered Breathing and sadly, it is estimated that less than 10 percent have been diagnosed. People come to accept that this is normal for them: Never feeling rested, not being able to sleep through the night without waking several times, requiring a daily nap because they feel so tired that they just can’t get through the day without one, and more. Fatigue also causes irritability, lack of concentration and an inability to do the things that they would like to do. If you ask them, they’ll say they are fine. They just don’t know that they can feel any differently.
Quite a few of our patients have come to see us because their spouse “made me!” Their snoring was disrupting the family or they refused to wear their CPAP and the very real, dangerous health issues worried their partner. “When a patient’s bed partner actually sees their loved one stop breathing in their sleep, and wake up choking or gasping for air, it’s a very scary thing,” says Willey. It is estimated that the bed partner of an untreated sleep apneic may lose up to an hour of sleep themselves each night. After being treated, both partners can rest easy. Their moods perk up, they accomplish more and their relationships improve.
Chris, a Clinical Assistant at the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine states, “Our patients really didn’t know just how tired they were until they began to be treated with Oral Appliance Therapy and realized just how great they could feel.” She recalls one patient telling her that he forgot to wear his appliance one night and the next day was just awful. He was so tired that he just wanted to go home and go to bed. For him, this was a defining moment and he realized that he didn’t want to forget to wear his appliance to bed again! He couldn’t understand how he had ever functioned for so long with out it.
The oral appliance is similar to an athletic mouth guard, but less bulky and completely non-invasive. It is clear plastic that fits comfortably over the teeth. It is small enough to fit in a pocket or purse and is great to travel with. No more hoses, straps or headgear. A patient on vacation does not have to worry about having a power supply or which side of the bed they will have to sleep on to be next to an outlet.
“We just saw a patient last week who has never been able to go on camping trips with her husband because she wasn’t about to bring a generator into the woods to use with her CPAP,” states Chris. “She has no problem wearing her CPAP at home, but was very excited to learn that she could travel with her oral appliance.” Some patients are able to substitute the oral appliance for the CPAP, and others may choose to use the oral appliance and CPAP together
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine issued a statement in the 2006 Journal SLEEP declaring that Oral Appliance Therapy is an excellent treatment option for those suffering from Mild to Moderate Obstructive Sleep Apnea. For Severe cases of sleep apnea, it may reduce the symptoms by up to 50 percent. If a Severe patient cannot wear the CPAP, oral appliance therapy is better than no therapy at all.
For other patients, they may choose to wear the oral appliance with the CPAP and here’s one reason why: “Another benefit of the oral appliance is that it can be set to keep the mouth shut comfortably while wearing CPAP.” Dr. Willey continues, “Often times the CPAP is less effective if the air blown into the nose comes out through an open mouth. The patient has the option to wear headgear strapped under the chin and over the head to keep the mouth shut, or an oral appliance that will do the Oral appliance therapy is based on a concept that had been around for decades. The oral appliance works by moving the base of the tongue out of the airway and toning the muscles of the airway so that they do not collapse when they relax during sleep. This is the same reason why someone doing CPR during an emergency moves the lower jaw forward to clear the airway.
Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine is partnering with local sleep physicians to offer a comfortable alternative to CPAP. Dr. Rodney Willey is a licensed general dentist who is dedicating his practice to treating patients suffering from snoring and sleep apnea. He states, “Our patients are the best. They are more like friends. We spend time getting to know them and their stories. We take the time necessary to make sure they get the best care possible.” Insurance coverage is a concern for many patients. Christy, Insurance Manager at IIDSM, submits medical insurance claims on behalf of the patients. She will call to verify coverage and go over all procedure costs and estimated insurance benefits with the patient before treatment begins. “We are thrilled with the results we are getting from insurance compani-es,” states Christy. “It is still challenging with some, because we have to introduce them to a dentist treating patients for sleep apnea, but a dentist is the only one qualified to make oral appliances. So we are blazing a trail.” IIDSM is one of the first dental providers in this area to truly understand how to submit for medical insurance coverage.
So if you are looking for a comfortable alternative to CPAP,same.” one’s sleep disordered breathing, call Dr. Willey at the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine at (309) 243-8980 or visit their website at IllinoisSleepDoc.com for more information. You’ll be glad you did!
Sleep Apnea’s Dirty Dozen- Other Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
- High Blood Pressure
- Cardiovascular Complications
- Weight Gain
- ADD/ADHD in Children
- Periods of not breathing during your sleep
- Daytime Fatigue
- Not Feeling Rested after Full Night’s Sleep
- Easily Frustrated/ Irritable/ Depression
- Morning Headaches
- Gastric Reflux
Dr. Rod Willey at the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine provides oral appliance therapy for the treatment of snoring and sleep apnea to the Peoria, East Peoria, Morton, Bloomington, and Galesburg Illinois (IL) areas. Call 309-243-8980 to schedule a consultation or email us at email@example.com.