Frequently Asked Questions

In addition to exhaustion, consistently snoring every night is one of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea. While many people simply write it off as a quirk of their friend, partner, or spouse, it shouldn’t be ignored completely. Just because someone snores doesn’t automatically mean they have sleep apnea, but it does indicate that they are not sleeping as well as they could, plus they are also more likely to develop sleep apnea in the future. Fortunately, it’s possible to stop snoring using an oral appliance, which can improve the sleep quality of both a patient as well as anyone who sleeps around them.
Often people do not realize if they snore or how loud they snore. If your bed partner snores, discuss with them that you are concerned about their health. We will be happy to schedule them for a free consultation to see if we can .

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder where the airway becomes covered, usually by the tongue, due to abnormal muscle relaxation of the tongue and surrounding muscles in the throat area. With the airway covered, a person does not breathe. Since no breathing is taking place, one’s oxygen level in their body drops and their heart rate increases. This lowered oxygen level is dangerous because it can cause a stroke or heart attack.

The higher heart rate is dangerous because it can aggravate high blood pressure. In an attempt to breathe, a person either awakens or partially awakens gasping for breath. Since an individual is always awakening to catch their breath, they never get the deep restful sleep needed by the body.

Definitely yes. In 2006, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine published a position paper stating that oral appliances are comparable therapy to CPAP for mild and moderate apnea, and a treatment option for patients who were CPAP and surgery failures. One of the major advantages of the oral appliance is patient compliance.

Over 95 percent of those given an oral appliance have reported continued use of the appliance after two years! The oral appliance has been shown to effectively control snoring in over 90 percent of patients. Mild and moderate sleep apnea respond extremely well; even many cases of severe apnea have been resolved with oral appliance usage.

YES! Medical research has shown that oral appliance therapy is very effective for mild and moderate sleep apnea, and very helpful for CPAP intolerant severe sleep apnea patients. This therapy is also very effective for people who have had surgery and the surgery was not successful. One of the major advantages of the oral appliance is patient compliance. Over 95 percent of those given an oral appliance have reported continued use of the appliance after two years! The oral appliance has been shown to effectively control snoring in over 90 percent of patients.

Research and clinical data show that there is no adverse effect on the jaw joint. This is not to say that, in rare cases, jaw problems cannot occur. A certain percentage of patients will have tooth or jaw movement. This is a small inconvenience in comparison to the dangers of sleep apnea. Always remember, your ability to breathe trumps everything else.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) recommends dental sleep devices as the first line of treatment option for anyone who has mild to moderate apnea and for anyone (even patients with severe apnea) who cannot tolerate CPAP. The AASM states that these devices should be made by a dentist who has had specialty training in the field of sleep medicine. This prohibits physicians from making the dental devices, and your device should only be made by dentists with proper training. Dr. Stopper has devoted numerous hours to advanced training to ensure the highest level of care. We work closely with your physician to make sure that your dental sleep therapy is medically successful.

Longevity of dental sleep devices is highly dependent on the person using the device, and it depends on the specific device made, forces placed on the device, and your care of the device. If the device is well-maintained, it should easily last for two to five years before needing to be replaced. Most medical insurance providers will pay for construction of a new dental sleep device every two years, and their longevity can be from one to many years in length. Each type of device has its own warranty. Typically after the first year, if a dental sleep device needs repair or to be reconstructed, the replacement fee is less than the initial cost of the device.
Yes, dental sleep devices work well at reducing the sound and severity of snoring. However, if you snore and have never had a sleep test it is recommended that you be screened and consult with a board-certified sleep physician to determine if you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Many snorers have obstructive sleep apnea without even realizing it. Sleep & Headache Solutions can help you schedule a consultation with a board-certified sleep physician. If your sleep test shows a diagnosis of Primary Snoring, then a dental sleep device can be made to control the sound and severity of your snoring. Usually, the procedures needed to treat snoring are simpler than for treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. This often results in fewer office visits and follow-up observations for people whose primary symptom is snoring.
The first appointment consists of two types of airway testing, learning about the disease and learning about how we treat OSA.
Our body structure and internal anatomy of the mouth and throat play a role in this. Some of us naturally have a smaller airway than others. The tone of your soft palate and uvula, whether you have tonsils, and the size of the tongue also can affect the size of your airway. Outside factors such as medications and alcohol can also make snoring worse. If the snoring is excessively loud it is a RED FLAG that there may be a very serious problem.
NO, THIS IS NOT NORMAL! It is a symptom of a far more serious problem called Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
Dental devices treat snoring or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) by advancing the lower jaw which keeps the airway open. It acts as more than just a snoring mouthpiece! The appliance is customized to fit your mouth and consists of upper and lower pieces that cover your teeth and will be titrated to advance your lower jaw throughout the treatment process. As your lower jaw moves forward, this also pulls the tongue forward, not allowing the tongue to drop back and cover the airway. The dental device helps open your airway, allowing you to breathe easier and sleep more comfortably for longer periods of time. This allows you to reach deeper levels of sleep and feel more refreshed when you wake up.
Most people easily adapt to wearing a dental sleep device at night. After wearing the device for a short period of time, it will become part of your routine, and most people will hate to go to sleep without it after they realize how much better they feel in the morning. Compliance rates for dental sleep therapy are much higher than for other forms of non-surgical treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. In other words, patients are much more likely to use a dental device successfully than any other form of treatment. Most scientific studies show that up to 95 percent of individuals will comfortably wear their devices nightly. Once patients experience better sleep and improved health associated with the use of a dental device, it is rare for someone to stop using it. In fact, Dr. Stopper wears a dental sleep device and knows firsthand the benefits of dental device use.
Definitely. Research has shown that being 70 percent, 80 percent, or 90 percent controlled is much better than 100 percent uncontrolled. One of the major advantages of the oral appliance is patient compliance.
No, they will not. Research has shown that simple boil and bite mouthpieces are not effective in treating sleep apnea. Substantial scientific evidence indicates that custom-made adjustable dental sleep devices are far more effective and comfortable than self-fitting, “boil and bite” devices. The self-fitting devices are typically much larger, which decreases their effectiveness because the device may actually obstruct your airway during sleep. Most “as seen on TV” self-fitting devices are not adjustable, which can lead to discomfort and pain. Successful dental sleep therapy is extremely dependent on precise adjustments of the dental sleep device. Without this ability to finely adjust the device, treatment success rates drop dramatically. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious and life-threatening medical disorder. It is unwise to treat obstructive sleep apnea or any other serious medical problem without proper medical supervision and guidance. Failure to seek medical supervision and choosing the ‘do it yourself’method can have serious medical risks, and can lead you to believe the problem is fixed when, in fact, it is not.
Weight has a direct impact on one’s snoring and apnea. The severity of sleep disordered breathing will fluctuate with the ups and downs of one’s weight gains and losses.
Yes! We encourage you to continue to see your existing dentist for routine and preventative dental care. The goal of Sleep & Headache Solutions is to successfully treat your snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Although it is necessary for Dr. Stopper to evaluate your teeth to ensure that they are stable enough for dental sleep therapy, she recommends that you return to your general dentist to perform routine preventative care. Our staff will work closely with your existing dentist and other medical providers to keep them up to date on your care. We will forward copies of any pertinent records or x-rays that were completed during your visit to help in future treatment. We work hard to provide the best possible treatment to you by providing coordinated patient care.