Sleep Apnea Treatment in Pittsford, NY

Serving Patients Across the Greater Rochester Area

What is Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder in which there is a complete obstruction of the airway when sleeping. The soft tissue in a person’s throat repeatedly collapses and blocks the air from entering the lungs.

When there is a reduction or complete pause in breathing, it usually lasts between 10 and 30 seconds but can last for even a minute or more. These episodes can occur hundreds of times a night, which can lead to significantly lower levels of oxygen in the blood. When the oxygen levels in the blood decrease, the brain perceives the body as suffocating. The body then triggers your fight-or-flight response and causes a brief arousal from sleep and normal breathing occurs. There is typically loud snoring followed by periods of silence when there is no airflow. Then gasping, choking or snorting sounds occur as breathing resumes.

Obstructive sleep apnea can only be diagnosed by a physician. Diagnoses are made by sleep physicians who use a test called Polysomnography (PSG). This can be performed in a sleep lab, a hospital or even at home in the comfort of your own bed (HST). A dentist is not permitted to make a diagnosis of sleep apnea.

This fragmented sleep pattern is what leads to excessive daytime sleepiness as well as many other serious health risks. Health experts estimate that up to 90% of people suffering with sleep-disordered breathing are undiagnosed!

Do I Have Sleep Apnea?

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, there are approximately 22 million Americans with obstructive sleep apnea.* Shockingly, of those 22 million, 80-90% remain undiagnosed! Obstructive sleep apnea is slightly more common in men than women. It is most common in middle aged and older adults. Overweight and obese people are more predisposed to OSA.

It is also estimated that, in middle-age, as many as 9% of women and 24% of men were affected, undiagnosed and untreated. Left untreated, sleep apnea can have serious and life-shortening consequences: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, automobile accidents caused by falling asleep at the wheel, diabetes, depression, and other ailments.

A major symptom is extremely loud snoring, sometimes so loud that bed partners find it intolerable. Other indications that sleep apnea may be present are obesity, persistent daytime sleepiness, bouts of awakening out of breath during the night, and frequently waking in the morning with a dry mouth or a headache. Only a sleep study, performed in a sleep laboratory or a home sleep study, can give a true diagnosis.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

If you snore, feel excessively sleepy like you could take a nap at any time during the day, have morning headaches, or have trouble trying to stay awake while driving, you have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

When you have obstructive sleep apnea, your brain and other tissue and organs are repeatedly deprived of oxygen through the night, night after night. This can cause your health to suffer.

Here are some of the detrimental health problems that can be caused or made worse by OSA:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness – leading to auto and work related accidents
  • Heart Failure
  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Disease
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Irregular Heartbeats
  • Cardiovascular Problems
  • Stroke
  • High blood Pressure
  • Diabetes Obesity
  • Sexual Dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Learning & Memory Problems


Drivers who are sleepy are estimated to have a 13x higher risk of being in a motor vehicle accident than those drivers who are well rested. Being tired while driving is equally as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. The U.S. Department of Transportation is proposing that truck drivers be screened for sleep apnea before getting their license. Estimates show that as much as 28% of truckers may be affected by sleep apnea due to sedentary lifestyles and obesity.

Accidents involving OSA do not have to be only motor vehicle accidents. Sleep apnea has been implicated in the following disasters:

  • Metro North Train Derailment: December 2013 – Conductor found to have severe Sleep Apnea
  • Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster: April 1986
  • Michigan Train Wreck: November 2001
  • Exxon Valdez Oil Spill: March 1989
  • Three Mile Island Nuclear Incident: March 1979

Oral Appliances

At Rochester Dental Sleep Therapy at Village Smiles, we offer a comfortable alternative for patients who are intolerant of CPAP therapy. We design custom oral appliances specific to your needs. Our team and doctors will work closely with you to maximize any potential medical benefits for your custom oral appliance.

Oral appliances are a non-invasive approach to treating obstructive sleep apnea. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Oral appliance therapy (OAT) is indicated for patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea that prefer OAT to CPAP treatment. Oral appliances are indicated for anyone who is not a candidate for CPAP or who has failed CPAP treatments and are not appropriate candidates for behavioral treatments such as weight loss or positional changes. Oral appliances can be very effective over time due to much higher patient compliance compared to CPAP.

Oral appliances are placed in your mouth like orthodontic appliances or sports mouth guards. They are used to open up the airway by holding the lower jaw forward, thus creating more space between the tongue and soft palate. Oral appliance therapy involves selecting and fitting a custom made appliance that best suits your needs. The device will maintain an open, unobstructed airway while you sleep.

Initial therapy involves examination and evaluation to determine the appropriate appliance. Once the appliance is fitted, follow up visits will be required on both a short-term and long-term basis to maintain the effectiveness.

The appliances promote adequate air intake and help to provide normal sleep in people who snore and have sleep apnea. Oral appliances can be used alone or in conjunction with other means of therapy such as continuous positive air pressure (CPAP). Determination of proper therapy can only be made by joint consultation with Dr. Schwedfeger and your sleep physician.

The Practice Parameters published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2006 include oral appliances as a first line of therapy in the standard of care for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea. Studies have shown compliance rates as high as 95% with oral appliance therapy. Because compliance rates are so high with oral appliance therapy, it can be a very effective treatment for patients over a long period of time.

Advantages of Oral Appliance Therapy

  • Comfortable and easy to wear
  • Treatment is reversible and non-invasive
  • Convenient for traveling
  • OAT does not make noise
  • Won’t disturb your bed partner’s sleep

How Oral Appliances Work

  • Moving the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula slightly forward
  • Stabilizes the lower jaw and tongue
  • Increases the muscle tone of the tongue
  • Repositions the hyoid bone
  • Moves the muscles of the front part of the neck forward to open the airway


Welcome to Rochester Dental Sleep Therapy at Village Smiles. If you are interested in a Free Sleep Consultation, please leave the following information and we will contact you to schedule an appointment.

At Rochester Dental Sleep Therapy, we have worked successfully with many patients who have been frustrated by CPAP therapy.

Our oral appliances have given these patients freedom from the problems associated with CPAP.

The health issues associated with ignoring Obstructive Sleep Apnea are life threatening.

If any of these complaints describe how you feel, you may be a candidate for oral appliance therapy. For additional information and questions about our sleep apnea treatments and oral appliance therapy, please contact us today at 585-586-3808. We look forward to helping restore your health and quality of sleep.

CPAP & Surgery

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is considered the Gold Standard for treatment of OSA. CPAP works by creating an air splint that holds the airway open with continuous pressurized air. When CPAP is properly used, it is 100% effective.

Behavioral Changes

Lifestyle changes can also be beneficial to treatment of OSA. Reduction in weight can have a significant effect in some patients. Neck sizes of greater than 17 inches in men and 15.5 inches in women can be a reliable predictor of OSA. Reduction in alcohol intake as well as smoking cessation can also help. Sleeping on one’s back may also contribute to OSA and there are devices available to help encourage side sleeping.

Surgical Treatments

There are many available surgical treatments that present with varying degrees of success. The most common surgical treatment is Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) in which the uvula and soft palate are removed. Other surgical treatments include somnoplasty, maxillomandibular advancement, genioglossus tongue advancement, Pillar procedure and hyoid suspension.

Don’t like your CPAP? You are not alone!

Although CPAP is the gold standard for treatment of sleep apnea, many people cannot or will not wear it because of how uncomfortable it is.

Slightly more than one-half of CPAP patients remained compliant and highly satisfied with treatment at long-term follow-up. However, approximately one-half of all such individuals had either not accepted or abandoned CPAP use, often citing discomfort with the apparatus as the reason for noncompliance*.

Typical complaints from CPAP users, or those who have rejected CPAP therapy:

  • Mask and straps are uncomfortable
  • Makes me feel claustrophobic
  • Mask and straps irritate my skin
  • Difficult to bring with you when you travel
  • Sound disrupts my sleep and the sleep of my bed partner

If any of these complaints describe how you feel, you may be a candidate for oral appliance therapy. For additional information and questions about our sleep apnea treatments and oral appliance therapy, please contact us today at 585-586-3808. We look forward to helping restore your health and quality of sleep.