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Sleep Apnea

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain – and the rest of the body – may not get enough oxygen.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.

Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Am I at risk for sleep apnea?

Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:

  • Being male
  • Being overweight
  • Being over age 40
  • Having a large neck size (17" or greater in men and 16" or greater in women)
  • Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
  • Having a family history of sleep apnea
  • Gastro esophageal reflux, or GERD
  • Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems

What are the effects of sleep apnea?

If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD

In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.


There are numerous treatments for sleep apnea. Dr. McCormick uses the Somnodent Oral Sleep Appliance to treat his patients with sleep apnea related issues. Please read more about Somnodent below, and then contact Dr. McCormick’s office to make an appointment to discuss your particular sleep apnea or snoring issues.

What is SomnoDent?

SomnoDent is an Oral Sleep Apnea Appliance consisting of two dental plates, which look similar to a sports mouth guard. SomnoDent is custom made to fit your mouth and should be worn at night whilst you are sleeping.

How does SomnoDent work?

Using a titration key, the SomnoDent can be gradually adjusted to bring your lower jaw forward, opening up your airway. Treatment is painless and non invasive1. SomnoDent therapy is reversible and can be used in conjunction with other treatment modalities.

Is SomnoDent comfortable?

The SomnoDent allows you to open and close your mouth, which means you can talk or drink with the appliance in position. Because SomnoDent is custom made to fit your mouth, you will find the appliance to be surprisingly comfortable and discreet. You will find that you’re used to wearing the device after about a week.

Is SomnoDent the right treatment for me?

If you suffer from mild to moderate OSA the SomnoDent should benefit you. If your OSA is classed as severe and you can not tolerate other recommended treatments, then speak to your Sleep Physician or Dr. McCormick about trying the SomnoDent.

When is SomnoDent worn?

The SomnoDent is worn when you sleep. The device is very discrete, allowing you to close your lips so it is not obvious that you are wearing it.

Is it comfortable?

Yes. SomnoDent is custom made to fit your mouth and it does not impinge on your tongue. You can open and close your mouth normally as the SomnoDent does not lock or fix your jaws together.

What will Dr. McCormick Do?.

Dr. McCormick will thoroughly examine your teeth and mouth and may use X-rays to confirm your oral health status. Once manufactured, the appliance will be inserted by Dr. McCormick, who will show you how to insert and remove the SomnoDent by yourself.

What is an oral appliance?

An oral appliance is a small device, similar to an orthodontic retainer or an athletic mouthguard. It is worn in the mouth during sleep to prevent the soft throat tissues from collapsing and obstructing the airway.

Are oral appliances effective in treating OSA?

Recent studies show oral appliances to be effective in treating mild to moderate OSA. The SomnoDent has also been shown to effectively treat severe obstructive sleep apnea in some cases. The SomnoDent is the only oral device to have TGA and FDA approval in Australia.

Will my private health insurer cover some of the cost?

The SomnoDent is partially reimbursed by most private health insurers. We will preauthorize the device with your insurance carrier before we begin treatment.

Are all oral appliances equal?

No. There is a range of such devices available, some of which are not custom-made or adjustable. SomnoDent greatly enhances comfort, with clinical research backing its effectiveness.

If you believe that you suffer from sleep apnea, Dr. McCormick can help. Please call our office at (707) 583-9263 to make an appointment today.

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