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Frequently Asked Questions

What is sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where a person completely stops breathing multiple times throughout the night. This can severely affect a person’s sleep quality, and over time, it can start to deteriorate their overall health. To learn more about this condition, you can read our full page about it right here.

How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?

While the most common treatment for sleep apnea is CPAP therapy, a very effective alternative is something called oral appliance therapy. This approach uses a custom-made mouthguard to prevent the symptoms of sleep apnea. Making them requires a very thorough knowledge of facial anatomy, and that’s exactly the kind of expertise you’ll find with a sleep dentist such as Dr. Brian Zulawinski. Using his skill and knowledge, he’ll be able to make you an appliance that is both comfortable and effective.

I hate my CPAP machine! Is there another option?

 Yes! It’s called oral appliance therapy, and it’s an alternative to CPAP therapy that is able to just as effectively relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea. In fact, it can even be paired with CPAP therapy to make the machine more comfortable for patients. If you’d like to learn more about this treatment, you can read our full page about it right here.

How can I know if I have sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea has a wide range of symptoms that include everything from snoring to high blood pressure. In order to get a proper diagnosis, you can start by taking our sleep quiz. This will give us vital information as to your risk factors for a sleep disorder. From there, we can help you get a home sleep study so that we can determine the exact cause of your sleep issues.

Will my insurance help pay for my sleep apnea treatment?

Fortunately, sleep apnea treatment is often covered by both dental and health insurance, as well as Medicaid. Our practice accepts many plans from multiple providers, and we will always work to maximize your benefits. If you have questions about how we can use your particular plan, simply contact us today.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?

If you experience any of the following, you may have sleep apnea:

  • Waking or gasping for breath during the night.
  • Loud, chronic snoring.
  • Dry mouth or sore throat upon waking.
  • Headaches in the morning.
  • Sleepiness during the day, especially while driving.
  • Inability to remember or focus.
  • Moodiness or depression.
  • Your partner is annoyed with your sleep habits or tells you that you stop breathing while you sleep.

Really, the only way to know for sure whether you have sleep apnea is to undergo a sleep study and confirm a diagnosis.

How can sleep apnea lead to cardiovascular problems?

Because sleep apnea consists of lapses in your breathing, your body’s oxygen levels drop to a dangerously low level. As a result, your brain send out a stress signal, which triggers a spike in blood pressure and wakes you up enough to resume normal breathing. The problem is that these episodes can happen hundreds of time per night. Over time without treatment, your body can acclimate to this constant state of stress by maintaining high blood pressure even while you’re awake. High blood pressure is a common risk factor for a cardiovascular event, such as a heart attack or stroke.

Was sleep apnea linked to Princess Leia’s death?

According to Newsweek, Carrie Fisher, whose most popular role was Princess Leia in Star Wars, suffered from drug addiction later in her life and struggled with sleep apnea. Although the cause of her death is undetermined, the coroner’s office says that sleep apnea may have played an important role. Several drugs were found in her system, and some of them could have caused her facial muscles to relax too much, obstructing her breathing. Or perhaps she experienced a cardiovascular event that claimed her life.

I snore. Does that mean I have sleep apnea?

Not necessarily. Although snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have sleep apnea. Similarly, you may have sleep apnea but not snore. During a sleep study, we can determine what your breathing looks like when you’re asleep and get a proper diagnosis. Once you’ve been accurately diagnosed, you can begin treatment and finally get the restful sleep you deserve.

What if I have already been diagnosed with sleep apnea?

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea already, don’t delay getting treatment. Through using a CPAP machine, an oral appliance, or both, you can reduce or even eliminate sleep apnea’s influence on your health. Not only does this mean that you’ll get better rest every night, but you’ll also have more days filled with energy and help lower your blood pressure for a healthier heart.