The overall health of our patients, including their sleep health, is our concern. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. If you snore loudly and feel tired even after a full night’s sleep, you might have sleep apnea. Many people suffer needlessly from dangerous sleep disruptive disorders that keep them from getting enough oxygen at night. The risk of a heart attack is 23 times more likely than average with a sleep disorder, and 92% of stroke victims live unknowingly with this condition before having a stroke. Our training allows us to offer you education and treatment surrounding sleep health in the simplest and most cost-effective way possible.
The signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas overlap, sometimes making it difficult to determine which type you have. The most common signs and symptoms of obstructive and central sleep apneas include:
- Loud snoring
- Episodes in which you stop breathing during sleep — which would be
- reported by another person
- Gasping for air during sleep
- Awakening with a dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)
- Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)
- Difficulty paying attention while awake
Estimates suggest that more than twelve million Americans have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Most cases are still undiagnosed, contributing to diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and traffic accidents related to drowsy driving. Dentistry serves a vital role in treating this silent epidemic. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends oral appliances as primary therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea and for patients with severe sleep apnea who can’t tolerate CPAP treatment.
What is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. OSA occurs when the throat muscles relax and temporarily collapse during sleep, blocking the airway and obstructing breathing. The throat muscles support various parts of your mouth and throat, including the uvula, the tonsils, the tongue, and the soft palate. When they collapse, breathing becomes shallow and inadequate and may even stop for anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute. This lowers the level of oxygen in the blood and increases the level of carbon dioxide.
How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea treated?
Treatment of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may involve surgery, CPAP or BiPAP machines, or oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances provide the least invasive option and often a good choice for the treatment of mild to moderate OSA. A carefully calibrated appliance like a CPAP or BiPAP can comfortably help hold the jaw in a precise position throughout the night.
All treatment recommendations should be made in conjunction with your sleep physician. If appliance therapy is selected, it’s essential the right method and positioning are designed to precisely maintain an open airway.