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Sleep Apnea

Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a condition that affects the way you breathe while sleeping -  often leading to frequent, loud snoring. Specifically, this is instigated when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes while you sleep, causing interruptions in breathing. These interruptions usually last between 10 to 20 seconds each and can occur up to hundreds of times a night. Sleep apnea is typically more prevalent in males, smokers, and the elderly; it can also cause a wide range of problems from sleep disturbance to more serious health issues. However, with advances in dental devices, this condition can now be treated and controlled.

 

Common Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

  • Loud, chronic snoring and long pauses in breath
  • Choking or gasping while sleeping
  • Feeling tired and sleepy throughout the day
  • Waking up with a headache, dry mouth or sore throat
  • Insomnia or constantly waking during the night
  • Forgetfulness, irritability or depression

 

Problems That Can Develop from Untreated Sleep Apnea

  • Chronic tiredness from sleep deprivation
  • Slower reflexes, poor concentration
  • High blood pressure and weight gain
  • Health issues such as diabetes and heart disease

Preventing Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can be treated by utilizing dental devices. Most of these devices are acrylic and fit inside your mouth like an athletic mouth guard.  Other devices such as the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue retaining device are worn over the head and chin, which helps adjust the position of your jaw and tongue so that your airways remain open. When using these dental devices, it's important to consult a dentist who specializes in sleep apnea and have the equipment properly fitted. There are other small things you can do every day to minimize sleep apnea as well, including avoiding smoking, alcohol, heavy meals, caffeine, keeping regular sleeping hours and sleeping on your side.

Dr. Carney has been at the forefront of the dental diagnosis and treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) for over 30 years. OSA oral orthotics are effective tools for treating this serious medical condition. Patients have many choices regarding OSA oral orthotics. It can be very confusing as to which orthotic may be right for you. The designs are varied and so are their ease of use, comfort and durability. Dr.

Carney has found that though all orthotics can be equally effective, their ease of wear and comfort vary great ly. His goal is always to find the most comfortable and easiest orthotic to wear.

Dr. Carney's findings have shown the bulkier the orthotic, the more uncomfortable it will be. This is because all OSA patients must breath through their mouth, so any encroachment on mouth breathing makes wearing a nighttime orthotic uncomfortable. Due to this fact, the more light weight and thinner the appliance, the less encroaching it will be on the tongue. This sacrifices strength and durability, however there is one appliance on the market today that satisfies all these criteria: the NARVAL oral orthotic. Less expensive appliances are bulkier and not as durable. The NARVAL's durability is long lasting and the material is 50% lighter than any other orthotic. For these reasons, it is the only appliance Dr. Carney provides for his patients. In addition, the NARVAL is manufactured by RESMED, the leading manufacturer of CPAP machines.

The NARVAL is recognized by most medical insurances under durable medical equipment codes. Your specific plan may vary as to the percentage they may reimburse you. If you have been diagnosed with OSA from a sleep center and are interested in having a NARVAL splint to treat your OSA, you must do 3 things in order to be considered covered under your medical insurance:

 

  1. Obtain a written prescription from your sleep doctor requesting an oral orthotic to treat your OSA, including the CPT and diagnosis codes. This can be written on one of the doctors' prescription slips.
  2. Complete a new Epworth sleepiness scale (which can be downloaded below). Date and sign this form.
  1. Complete the affidavit of noncompliance (which can be downloaded below).

 

Submit all 3 documents to our medical insurance coordinator along with your medical insurance information. If your insurance requires preauthorization, we will send in all necessary information to your insurance carrier to begin the process. The sooner you call, the sooner you can start feeling better and sleeping better with your NARVAL splint.

Epworth & Affidavit