Sleep Apnea

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All About Sleep Apnea

Let’s talk about sleep apnea, a condition that might be affecting your sleep more than you realize. Imagine your body taking a break from breathing multiple times a night without your conscious control. That’s exactly what happens during sleep apnea episodes. Sleep apnea isn’t just about snoring or feeling tired. It’s a serious condition where your breathing stops and starts repeatedly while you sleep. There are primarily two types we see:

  1. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): This is the one we encounter most often. It happens when the soft tissue at the back of your throat collapses and blocks your airway during sleep. Think of it as a temporary roadblock in your throat; when the air can’t get through, neither can your breath.
  2. Central Sleep Apnea: Less common but equally concerning, central sleep apnea occurs when there’s a hiccup in the communication between your brain and the muscles that help you breathe. Unlike OSA, it’s not a blockage that’s the problem, but rather a signalling issue, causing pauses in your breathing pattern.

Spotting the Signs: Are you the one who’s always snoring loudly? Or maybe you wake up feeling like you haven’t slept at all? Here are a few signs to watch out for:

  • Regular, loud snoring with silent pauses
  • Sudden gasps or choking noises during sleep
  • Waking up with a headache or dry mouth
  • Feeling unusually sleepy or irritable during the day
  • Difficulty with memory or concentration

The Importance of Treating Sleep Apnea

When it comes to sleep apnea, getting treatment isn’t just about improving your sleep; it’s about enhancing your overall health and quality of life. Let’s break down why addressing sleep apnea should be high on your priority list:

Beyond Just Snoring: While snoring might be the most noticeable sign of sleep apnea, the implications run much deeper than nighttime noise. Sleep apnea disrupts your sleep cycle and deprives your body of essential oxygen, leading to a cascade of potential health issues. It’s not merely an inconvenience; it’s a health hazard.

A Ripple Effect on Health: Untreated sleep apnea can be the root of an array of health problems. It’s linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and even strokes. But here’s the kicker: by treating sleep apnea, you’re not just safeguarding your sleep but also protecting your heart, brain, and overall well-being.

Mental Clarity and Emotional Well-Being: Ever noticed how a bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling grouchy or out of sorts? With sleep apnea, imagine experiencing that every day. Effective treatment can drastically improve your mood, cognitive function, and emotional health, making your days more productive and enjoyable.

The Energy to Live Your Best Life: Constant fatigue can transform life’s pleasures into chores. Treating sleep apnea means breaking free from the chains of daytime drowsiness and rediscovering the energy to enjoy life to its fullest.

Taking Treatment Seriously: We understand that the idea of treatment might seem daunting or inconvenient. However, today’s treatments are more user-friendly and effective than ever. Whether it’s a CPAP machine, an oral appliance, or lifestyle changes, there’s a solution that can fit your life and your needs.

It’s a Team Effort: Remember, you’re not alone in this. Our dedicated team is here to guide you through understanding your condition, exploring your treatment options, and finding the best fit for you. Your journey to better sleep and better health is a collaborative effort, and we’re with you every step of the way.

Custom Fit, Custom Comfort

How Does Oral Appliance Therapy Compare to CPAP?

When it comes to addressing sleep apnea, it’s essential to explore the various treatment options available. Two prominent methods, Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), each offer distinct advantages. Let’s compare these approaches to help you make an informed decision about the best fit for your needs.

Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT):

  1. Comfort and Simplicity: OAT offers a personalized approach with custom-fitted appliances that ensure a comfortable fit, allowing for natural movement during sleep.
  2. Quiet and Convenient: Operating silently and discreet in size, oral appliances are a hassle-free solution, ideal for travel with no bulky equipment.
  3. User-Friendly: Renowned for its user-friendly design, OAT simplifies treatment with no hoses, masks, or noisy machinery, leading to higher compliance rates.
  4. Customized for You: Crafted to meet unique needs, each oral appliance aligns with individual comfort requirements, ensuring effective sleep apnea treatment.


  1. Proven Efficacy: CPAP, a classic treatment, involves wearing a mask connected to a machine that delivers a continuous air stream, highly effective in maintaining open airways.
  2. Wide Acceptance: Widely accepted in the medical community, CPAP has a proven track record, making it a reliable choice for many patients.
  3. Strict Compliance: While effective, CPAP requires strict adherence to nightly mask use. Some users may find the mask uncomfortable, challenging adherence.
  4. Potential Discomfort and Considerations: CPAP may cause discomfort, including bloating and aerophagia. Dryness and irritation in the nose and throat may require additional measures like humidifiers. The bulkier, less portable nature of CPAP machines can pose challenges during travel, and maintenance requirements may be time-consuming, potentially affecting user adherence. An adaptation period is not uncommon when initiating CPAP therapy.

A Journey to Better Sleep

Here’s what you can expect:


Your treatment journey starts with a comprehensive evaluation by Dr. Adam Altdorfer. This initial meeting is an opportunity for you to share your sleep-related symptoms and medical history. Dr. Altdorfer will assess your condition to determine if Oral Appliance Therapy is suitable for you, considering your specific health needs and circumstances.


If OAT is deemed appropriate, we will proceed with customizing your oral appliance. This step involves taking precise dental impressions to ensure that your device fits comfortably and functions effectively. Once your appliance is ready, you’ll have a fitting session where Dr. Altdorfer will adjust the appliance to ensure a perfect fit and teach you how to use and care for it properly.

Adjustment & Follow Up

Getting used to your new appliance may require some time and minor adjustments. Follow-up visits are scheduled to assess the fit of your appliance, make any necessary modifications, and evaluate your progress with the treatment. These sessions ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from your Oral Appliance Therapy.

Ongoing Support

Our commitment to your well-being extends beyond the initial treatment phase. Regular check-ups are part of our ongoing support to monitor the effectiveness of your appliance, address any changes in your condition, and ensure continued success in managing your sleep apnea. We are dedicated to providing long-term care to help maintain your improved sleep quality and overall health.

Breaking Down The Costs Of Oral Appliance Therapy In Boulder, Colorado

Embarking on your journey towards better sleep and health begins with understanding the financial aspects of Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT). Our Boulder, Colorado practice is dedicated to transparency, providing you with all the necessary details to navigate the costs associated with OAT.

Complimentary Consultation & Screening: We believe in making the first step as accessible as possible, which is why we offer a free initial consultation. During this visit, we discuss your sleep-related symptoms and conduct a preliminary screening as part of our regular dental exams. This approach ensures that we identify your needs without adding to your financial burden.

The Appliance: The centerpiece of OAT is your custom-fitted oral appliance. In Boulder, the cost for these appliances typically ranges from $1,800 to $3,500. This investment includes the customization and materials required to ensure your appliance is both comfortable and effective. We will explore the various options with you, ensuring that we find the right solution that aligns with your health needs and budget.

Follow-Up Care: Our commitment to your well-being includes essential follow-up visits to adjust and optimize your appliance. While the initial consultation and screening are free, follow-up care is crucial for successful treatment. These visits are typically priced between $150 and $350, depending on the nature and duration of the appointment. We strive to keep these visits efficient and focused, ensuring value and effectiveness in your ongoing care.

Insurance Coverage: Understanding and maximizing your insurance benefits is key to affordable care. We accept all major insurance plans, including but not limited to UnitedHealthcare (UHC), Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS), Cigna, and Humana. We understand that dealing with insurance can be complex, which is why our experienced team is here to help. We will assist you in understanding your coverage, estimating your costs, and maximizing your benefits to ensure that your treatment is as affordable as possible.

Long-Term Value: Choosing OAT is an investment in your future well-being. Beyond the immediate benefits of better sleep and reduced snoring, treating sleep apnea contributes to your long-term health, potentially saving on future medical costs and enhancing your quality of life.

We are here to make your journey to better health as smooth and accessible as possible. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our services or the specifics of our free consultation and screening process here in Boulder, Colorado.

Frequently Asked Questions

OAT is a treatment for obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, involving a custom-fitted device worn in the mouth during sleep to maintain an open, unobstructed airway.

Common symptoms include loud snoring, pauses in breathing during sleep, waking up gasping or choking, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating.

OAT uses a custom-fitted oral device worn in the mouth, while CPAP involves wearing a mask connected to a machine that provides continuous air pressure to keep the airway open.

Many patients with dentures can successfully use OAT. An evaluation is necessary to determine the best treatment approach.

We accept all major insurance plans, including UHC, BCBS, Cigna, and Humana.

Regular cleaning with a soft brush and specific cleaning solutions is recommended. Avoid hot water, which can warp the appliance.

A Dentist’s Quest For Better Rest, Meet Dr. Adam

Nothing bothers me more than a night of poor sleep. It can really put a cloud over an otherwise sunny day if you know what I mean. I snore, my brothers snore, my dad snores… even my dogs snore! I definitely know what it’s like to wake up and feel like I’ve not slept at all. Not surprisingly, several of my family members have tested positive for obstructive sleep apnea. After learning more about the terrifying implications of this diagnosis, I never thought about sleep the same again! In fact, this is where my journey and passion for treating obstructive sleep apnea began. I strive to bring awareness about this disease to my patients that exhibit symptoms because most people don’t realize that this is the reason they are not feeling great or performing well. Having seen the transformation of so many people, especially close relatives, I know the life-changing effect proper management of this disease can bring about. It brings me joy knowing that as a dentist trained by the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine, I am able to provide a service that brings others so much joy and, quite frankly, a longer and healthier life! So many people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea don’t realize how this can be linked to their other chronic diseases that are shortening their lives. Or just simply causing them to be so drowsy during the day that they fall asleep at the steering wheel only to wake up in an ambulance one day. I am happy I am able to make a difference and help these people and their families live a better life. Because let’s face it, nobody likes sleeping next to someone that snores! If you or a loved one is one of these people, I hope you will let me help you get a better night’s rest too. Snore less. Dream more. Feel better!

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