OSA involves a physical blockage of the airway during sleep, while central sleep apnea (CSA) occurs when the brain fails to regulate breathing while you sleep. CSA is the rarer of the two conditions and is much more difficult. It requires the attention of a specialist.
During your visit to our office, we will begin with an analysis of your symptoms. This information is paired with the results of any sleep studies you have undergone, your medical history, and a scan of your airway with 3-D advanced cone beam technology.
Patients that seek treatment with Drs. Green and Gregson will undergo detailed 3D scans with the Orthophos, a state-of-the-art 3-D advanced cone beam scanner. The machine is safe, provides exceptionally detailed images, and is usedin our dental office every day to produce some of the most precise diagnoses available. Our doctors use all the data they gather from the Orthophos and pair it information obtained during your examination and consultation to recommend the right course of treatment.
Cone Beam Computed Tomography, or CBCT, is a specialized imaging device that uses a rotating cone-shaped x-ray beam to create a 3D view of the inner anatomy of your head and face.
CBCT scans are usually recommended by your doctor in situations where more diagnostic information is needed than a standard dental x-ray can provide. It enables them to visualize your bone structure, tooth position, soft tissues, and nerve pathways in detail.
Because of the level of detail provided, CBCT scans have several clinical applications, including: TMJ and skeletal evaluation, dental implant planning, airway examination, assessment of abnormal teeth, measurement of dental tumors, and more.
To capture the CBCT scan, the scanning arm rotates around the patient’s head and captures several exposures that are reconstructed into a single 3-D image. The process typically takes a minute or less to complete.
Once completed, the images are processed and analyzed, and your doctor will use the information gained to plan the best course of care for you.
If you have not completed a sleep study, or if it has been some time since your last one, we will plan a traditional sleep study or arrange for a home sleep study. A sleep study is coordinated with an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist). This study will provide essential information about your condition and the best way to proceed. In some cases, measures such as adopting a healthier diet and engaging in regular exercise can help patients lose weight and reduce stress, improving sleep apnea symptoms. In other cases, patients may need to lessen or cease alcohol intake. Since smoking often contributes to OSA, stopping the habit can significantly reduce benefits and provide many other health benefits.
Doctors may determine that an oral appliance is necessary to treat your sleep apnea. Upon determination by doctors, we can begin the process of crafting your device once the diagnosis and insurance coverage is confirmed. We work with laboratories that specialize in creating precise custom devices with a fast turnaround. For your comfort, we can usually make minor adjustments to your completed oral appliance, and we have some models available that you can adjust yourself.
An oral appliance will move the lower jaw slightly forward, helping to prevent the collapse of soft tissues that results in the obstruction of breathing.
You should notice improvements very soon after beginning treatment with an oral device. We will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. When properly used alongside any prescribed lifestyle changes that address the cause of your sleep apnea, you can usually expect treatment to last for a few weeks to a month or two.
Most medical insurance plans cover the cost of sleep apnea treatment with a doctor’s approval following a diagnosis, though dental insurance often does not. A few medical insurance forms will need to be completed and submitted, which you should ask your physician or otolaryngologist to provide. Our staff can assist you in this process.
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Alternatively, you may call our Metairie office at 504-849-0190.