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Sleep Apnea & Snoring

Date April 9, 2021

Did you know that between 1/3 and 1/2 of all adult Americans snore or have snored at some point?  However, snoring – even chronically – is not necessarily indicative of sleep apnea.  Snoring is a noise made by the vibration of the soft palate while breathing.  Obstructive sleep apnea is a partial or complete recurrent upper airway obstruction while sleeping.  An estimated 20% of adults have some form of sleep apnea, which can be a life-threatening condition.  Common co-morbidities of obstructive sleep apnea include but are not limited to hypertension, cardiac disease, A-fib, GERD, depression, stroke, diabetes, hypercholesteremia, memory loss, fatigue and decreased libido.  Treatment options for sleep apnea and snoring usually depend on the severity of the condition and whether patients are experiencing problems breathing or simple snoring. Some of the most common treatments include behavioral modifications, oral sleep appliances, continuous positive airway pressure devices, and in some cases surgery.

Do not be surprised if our dentist brings up snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.  Dr. Zechmann firmly believes the dentist is in the best position to screen the public for obstructive sleep apnea.  As dentists we see your medical history, your dentition, and your airway, and we see you twice a year.

There is an alternative to CPAP! If you snore or have mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea, we can fabricate you an oral appliance as a primary therapy option.  If you have severe sleep apnea, we recommend you consider a CPAP first.  If you cannot tolerate a CPAP, we absolutely recommend an oral appliance or some other form of treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need treatment for sleep apnea or snoring?

You may need treatment for snoring if the condition is disrupting the sleep of your partner or other people who live with you. We recommend treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.  Contact our dentist at River Landing Dentistry immediately to discuss your options for managing or treating sleep apnea.

What should I expect during treatment for sleep apnea or snoring from Dr. Zechmann in Charleston, South Carolina?

Dr. Zechmann is a qualified dentist through the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine and has attended numerous hours of CE in this field.  You can expect Dr. Zechmann to do the following:

  1. Review your medical history
  2. Discuss your sleep test results if you have them with you
  3. Refer you for either an in-lab sleep test (PSG) or home sleep test (HST) if you have not had one
  4. Discuss different treatment options including oral appliance therapy; review different appliances and their pros and cons
  5. Reach out to your PCP and medical insurance company should we decide to move forward with oral appliance therapy to treat your snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.

Please bring your medical insurance card and any previous sleep tests you may have had completed.

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