Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A custom-fit oral sleep appliance can improve your sleep, restore your alertness, and revitalize your health. Worn only during sleep, an oral appliance fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway. 

There are two important points to consider with oral appliances:

  1. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) as one of the first-line treatments for patients diagnosed with mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The AASM also recommends oral appliances for patients with moderate to severe OSA, who are unable to tolerate or cannot wear Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices.
  2. Oral appliances are typically covered by medical insurance benefits but are not covered by dental insurance. Chicago Sleep Center is in-network with most insurances to cover oral appliance devices and oral appliance titration.

As a convenience to our patients, Chicago Sleep Center offers an on-site dentist for easy access to oral appliances.

The Pillar Implant is a minimally invasive treatment option for mild to moderate palatal sleep apnea and snoring. The procedure places three tiny inserts in the patient’s soft palate, causing the palate to stiffen. The stiffening helps to prevent or lessen blockages of the airway—effectively treating sleep apnea and substantially reducing the severity of snoring in most individuals. Pillar inserts are 18 mm in length and made from a woven soft polyester material that has been used for many years in implantable medical products. The Pillar Procedure is conducted in a single, short, in-office setting using local anesthetic and is completely reversible.

Our office-based nasal procedures include minimally invasive techniques to improve the nasal airway, such as the Nasal Valve Procedure and Radiofrequency Turbinate Reduction (RFTR).

RFTR is a minimally invasive surgical option that can reduce tissue volume in a precise, targeted manner. This technique uses radiofrequency to create lesions within the submucosal tissue of the turbinate, reducing tissue volume with minimal impact on surrounding tissues. RFTR differs fundamentally from traditional methods by using low-power radiofrequency energy to provide a relatively quick and painless procedure for tissue coagulation.

Radiofrequency is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure which reduces and tightens excess tissue in the upper airway responsible for obstructive sleep apnea, including the base of tongue which is the most difficult to treat source of the obstruction.

Over a period of three to eight weeks the treated tissue is reabsorbed, leading to volume reduction and improved airway obstruction. The procedure itself typically takes 30 to 45 minutes, with only 2 to 4 minutes of actual energy delivery.

Behavior modification techniques or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are aimed at changing sleep habits and scheduling factors, as well as misconceptions about sleep and insomnia, that perpetuate sleep difficulties. In fact, the recent National Institute of Health state-of-the-science meeting on insomnia concluded that CBT is a safe and effective means of managing chronic insomnia and its effects.

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia includes regular, often weekly, visits to a clinician, who will give the patient a series of sleep assessments, ask the patient to complete a sleep diary, and work with the patient in sessions to help change the way the patient sleeps.

CBT may also include Stimulus Control Instructions which are created by looking at the patient’s sleep habits and pinpointing different actions that may be prohibiting sleep. Additionally, the process is tailored with Sleep Hygiene Education, a customized list of things one should and should not do in order to sleep.

Inspire therapy is a breakthrough implantable treatment option for people with OSA who are unable to use or get consistent benefit from a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. This revolutionary treatment option monitors the patient’s breathing and delivers mild stimulation to the hypoglossal nerve which controls the movement of the tongue and other key airway muscles. By stimulating these muscles, the airway remains open during sleep. Learn more about Inspire at this link.

In the event that more conservative treatments have failed, surgical techniques to alleviate airway obstruction are often straightforward and effective.

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