Sleep Apnea Treatment

Insurance Approved!

Medicare Approved

We are the only office in Lee and Collier counties that provides oral appliance therapy, laser therapy, and other CPAP alternatives that takes medical insurance on assignment and are in network with Medicare.

Sleep apnea affects a significant portion of the population, with estimates suggesting up to 25% of men and 10% of women. This condition, where breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, is linked to a variety of debilitating conditions, including an increased risk of heart problems and high blood pressure. That’s right – loud snoring or feeling tired the next day is not the only complication it causes.

Given these risks, sleep apnea must be addressed immediately. At Sleep Treatment Direct in Bonita Springs, Florida, our focus is on detecting and treating this condition effectively. Dr. Gene Steele DDS, FAGD, specializes in dental sleep medicine and offers non-surgical, safe therapies tailored to your specific needs.

By consulting with a sleep medicine expert like Dr. Steele, you are taking a proactive step towards better sleep and improved health. Don’t wait for your symptoms to get worse. Contact our office today to set up an appointment.

Our Treatment Strategies for Sleep Apnea

Treating sleep apnea at Sleep Treatment Direct considers a wide range of personal factors like your age, the specific kind of sleep apnea you have, and how intense your symptoms are. We usually start with basic health advice: keep a normal weight, stop smoking, and cut down on caffeine and alcohol. You will be surprised how much of a difference this alone can make.

Beyond these general lifestyle adjustments, we offer the following treatment options based on your unique needs:

  • Mandibular Advancement Appliances: These custom-fitted devices slightly shift your lower jaw forward to help keep your airway open.
  • Epigenetic Appliances: These are specialized devices focused on the broader aspects of your mouth and jaw structure to address sleep apnea.
  • Laser Treatments: We also use laser technology to adjust the mouth and throat to help keep your airways open.

If your OSA is coupled with sinus problems or airway blockages, we might suggest a consultation with an otolaryngologist. They can offer more intensive surgical options to facilitate easier breathing.

What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)?

OSA is where your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while you are asleep. This happens because the respiratory tract in your throat gets blocked. Imagine the soft tissues in the back of your throat, like the area around your tonsils and the tongue, relaxing too much while you sleep. This can cause those tissues to fall back and block the air passage.

Inside your throat, you have the soft palate (the soft part at the back of the roof of your mouth), the uvula (that little dangling thing you can see when you say “ahh”), your tonsils, and your tongue. When these parts loosen up too much, they can either narrow your airway or block it completely. This makes it hard or even impossible for air to get through. And when air cannot get through, the amount of oxygen in your blood can drop.

Since your brain always monitors your body, it notices when your oxygen levels go down. So, it briefly wakes you up to open the tract again. This single episode is so short and so quick that you don’t even remember it – and it happens continuously throughout the night. This means your sleep gets broken up often, making you feel like you did not get a good night’s sleep, even if you were in bed for 8-10 hours.

Obstructive sleep apnea is diagnosed by looking at how often you stop breathing or have shallow breathing while you sleep. There are two key things doctors look for:

  • Apneas: This is when your breathing completely stops for a short time.
  • Hypopneas: This is when your breathing doesn’t stop but becomes very shallow because of a partial blockage in your airway.

Our dentists measure how often these events happen in an hour of sleep. We use a specific measurement known as the Apnea-Hypopnea Index (AHI) for this, which tells us how severe your apnea is based on the number of these breathing interruptions per hour.

But if you cannot even remember waking up in the middle of the night, how do you know you might have sleep apnea? If you have OSA, you are extremely likely to be experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Extremely loud snoring
  • Waking up suddenly, feeling like you are out of breath or needing to gasp for air
  • Feeling extremely sleepy during the day, even after a full night’s sleep, or feeling worn out and fatigued
  • Experiencing headaches in the morning, along with a sore throat or a dry mouth
  • Finding it hard to focus on tasks at hand
  • Noticing a decline in memory
  • Experiencing changes in your mood or behavior (anxiety, depression, panic attacks)
  • Decreased libido

How We Diagnose Obstructive Sleep Apnea

At Sleep Treatment Direct, our approach to diagnosis starts with a careful review of your health history, focusing on your sleep patterns. We ask about any family history of sleep apnea, instances of you falling asleep involuntarily during the day, and your regularity in maintaining a sleep schedule.

Following this, we perform a comprehensive examination of your head, neck, and dental structure to look for any physical factors that could be contributing to your apnea. If you have not already been diagnosed with this condition, we will refer you for a home sleep study. We recommend a home-based test first, but if the condition is serious or the results from the first test are inconclusive, you might be referred to a polysomnographic lab. 

 

A Home Sleep Test (HST) is very easy to set up; we provide you with all the equipment, and you can use it yourself in the comfort of your own home. After completing the study, we analyze the results the following morning to confirm whether you have sleep apnea.

An in-lab sleep study, known as Polysomnography (PSG), is more complicated. You need to make an appointment, stay overnight at a sleep lab, and be personally observed by a professional technologist. You are connected to electrodes that record a number of bodily functions while you sleep, like your brain waves, heart rate, breathing pattern, eye movements, blood oxygen levels, and so on. 

We don’t have a PSG facility as this advanced option is only recommended for severe OSA symptoms; a home-based test works perfectly for mild to moderate sleep apnea.

Get Better Sleep with Oral Appliance Therapy at Sleep Treatment Direct

With an office located in Bonita Springs, Sleep Treatment Direct has helped countless OSA patients with oral appliance therapy in the Southwest Florida region, including Naples, Marco Island, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers.

If you want to improve your sleep or learn more about how oral appliance therapy can help you, give us a call. We offer a free consultation where you can meet the Sleep Treatment Direct team, talk about your sleep issues, and get help sorting out the insurance (or choosing a flexible payment plan).

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