Sleep apnea is recognized as persistent pauses in breathing during sleep due to muscles relaxing and gravity temporarily closing your airway. The effect is a short-term suffocation with resultant lack of oxygen placing excessive stress on the body, which can result in conditions such as memory loss, mood change, weight gain, fatigue, and hypertension. There are many snoring or sleep apnea treatment options, ranging from airway surgeries like a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy, or maxillofacial surgery, to the use of a CPAP machine. Sometimes people are not happy with those solutions. As an alternative, they might consider dental treatments to help alleviate the problem. At Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher in Salisbury, MD, we focus on creating customized sleep apnea mouth appliances to help with sleep apnea. As an experienced dentist Dr. Joseph Heher has undergone training to provide this simple, comfortable, and reliable service to help alleviate sleep apnea and contribute to an improvement in your health and wellness.
"My husband started off as a patient and had nothing but great things to say about all of the staff and how comfortable the whole process was. When I had a problem I called and was seen quickly. I have tried a few dentists over the years and I will say this place is where I have felt most at ease. I cant say enough about the staff, they are all friendly, and compassionate. I was also impressed that Dr. Heher calls to check on how you are doing the next day. I have never had a dentist do that. We are glad we found this dentist and will always use them."- L.S. / Google / Mar 21, 2019
"Dr. Heher went in-depth with me at my first exam. Him and all staff made my day as they were kind and professional. Being to three different dentist in the area, I truly feel Dr. Heher was thorough, easy to talk to and ask questions and gentle. His staff and himself definitely make you their priority."- A.B. / Google / Jan 04, 2019
"Called on a Saturday morning explaining that I was experiencing tooth and jaw pain. I had never been to this practice before. They told me to come in and I did. Can’t say enough... I left feeling much better. My husband and I have found our new dentist!! Thanks to Dr. Heher and Staff for caring !!"- D.M. / Google / Feb 11, 2019
"Located the problem quickly. Explained in great detail my options and thoroughly answered my questions. I have been a patient of Dr. Heher's for 17 years. Always satisfied!"- M.C. / Google / Jan 12, 2019
"I’ve only had 2 visits to the practice but they wow’d me both times. I had the best dental exam I’ve ever had by Dr. Heher on my first visit and today I had my cleaning and it was also very thorough. I highly recommend this practice."- A.M. / Google / Oct 24, 2018
Women and men who suffer from severe cases of sleep apnea are not great candidates for a dental-based solution. However, if you have a mild to moderate snoring problem, a dental remedy may be just what you need. Sleep apnea may be dangerous since it keeps you from breathing normally hundreds of times every night when the tissues in your throat and soft palate collapse. When this happens, your airway is blocked, keeping oxygen from reaching your organs, especially your brain and heart. So needless to say, it is imperative to be properly diagnosed and treated with the best solutions.
What To Expect
Sleep apnea treatment with Dr. Heher at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher utilizes what is referred to as oral appliance therapy (OAT), which can be quite an effective therapy for sleep apnea. It is a custom-made device which fits in your mouth at night. While vastly different, the closest thing it can be compared to is a sports mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer. The primary difference is that instead of guarding your teeth against harm, it gently pulls the jaw into a forward position to maintain on open airway. There currently are more than a hundred distinct models on the market, so Dr. Heher will work with you to ensure your nightguard meets your needs. This may be determined after he assesses your jaw, tongue, airway, and teeth before taking impressions of your teeth for your oral appliance to ensure it fits comfortably.
Once your dental appliance has been fabricated at a high-tech dental lab, you will return to our office for a fitting. Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher will contact you to schedule a follow-up appointment. Dr. Heher will fit and adjust it according to your requirements to make the appliance as comfortable as possible. He will allow ample time to help you learn about your new sleep apnea device including how to insert and remove it, as well as how to clean, store, and maintain it. Ideally, a post-insertion sleep study should be done, and the lower jaw advanced incrementally forward until the sleep apnea ceases. Dr. Heher will want you to bring your apnea mouthpiece when you return for annual check-up appointments to inspect for wear and tear. Your quality of life and sleep should dramatically improve if you follow instructions properly.
Dental insurance policies for sleep apnea treatments can vary, so we will contact your dental insurance carrier to help you understand coverage and calculate any out-of-pocket costs. It would definitely help gain insurance coverage approval if you have undergone a sleep study to verify the sleep apnea prior to the start of any treatment. Whether you have dental insurance or not, Dr. Heher will provide you with cost estimates while helping you better understand your treatment options. To make your dental treatments more affordable, Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher accepts several payment methods and may be able to help you find low-interest medical financing.
Sleep Apnea Treatments
If your breathing was interrupted up to hundreds of times every day from a blocked airway, you would ask for help right away. However, when the same thing happens during your sleep, because you were asleep, you don’t recognize the cessation of breathing, and thus not be aware it happened, consequently not seeing treatment for what could be a life-threating condition. If you believe you may be suffering from sleep apnea, we invite you to schedule a consultation at Smiles! Dentistry by Dr. Joseph Heher at your earliest convenience.