Sam, a retired utilities supervisor had struggled with snoring, headaches, daytime fatigue, and high blood pressure for years. His job required him to be on call 24/7 which only increased his fatigue.

“I guess I learned to adapt to the constant fatigue,” says Sam. “Every Wednesday we would have a meeting, and I would doze off in the middle of the meeting,” he continued. “Somehow I would still answer the questions my manager asked, but had no recollection of doing so.”

Sam’s snoring got so bad, his wife had to sleep in another room. “Our pet parrot would even mimic the sound of my snoring, but on a much louder note,” says Sam.

“When Sam would struggle to breathe at night, it really worried me,” his wife says. “He would even doze off while driving, which really scared me.”

With the advice of his physician, Sam decided to have an overnight sleep test. The results confirmed that he had severe sleep apnea and stopped breathing over 60 times an hour.

Sam’s physician suggested that he try Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) to treat his sleep apnea.

“I always felt tense when sleeping with the CPAP machine, and could never relax,” says Sam. “The pressure of the CPAP made it hard to breath. I never felt like it was that sanitary either when I would get sick.

“When I complained to my wife about the CPAP, she thought I wasn’t giving it a chance, so I said she should try it on,” he says. “She put it on, but only lasted 15 seconds or so, and admitted that it was pretty difficult to wear.”

After 3 months of battling with the CPAP, Sam knew he needed something else. “Because I had a deviated septum, my physician said I could try a surgery to remove the uvula in the back of my throat and move my soft palate forward. The surgery sounded awful, and I decided against it,” says Sam.

“My blood pressure was out of control, even with continual increases in my medication,” says Sam. Sam’s physician referred him to a cardiologist who recommended he see Dr. Rod Willey, of the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine for a dental sleep appliance since he couldn’t wear the CPAP.

“Within the first month of using the dental appliance I noticed a huge difference in my energy levels and quality of life!” he says. “My wife is so happy because I don’t fall asleep immediately after dinner,” he continues. “We can actually enjoy spending some time together.”

“I know both of my brothers have sleep apnea, as well as some of my kids,” says Sam. “It really concerns me, because I know just how serious sleep apnea can be. Both of my parents died from heart problems at an early age, and I suspect they had sleep apnea too,” he continues. “I have told my family about the great results I have received from the appliance, and hope they can experience the same!

Oral Appliance therapy is covered by most medical insurances and Medicare. For more information on oral appliance therapy contact Dr. Rod Willey at the Illinois Institute of Dental Sleep Medicine. As a general dentist, with a Diplomate from the Academy of Clinical Sleep Disorders Disciplines, Dr. Willey has limited his practice to the treatment of snoring, sleep apnea, and TMJ Disorders with oral appliance therapy. To contact them call 309-228-4038 or email them at info@illinoissleepdoc.com.