What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders. It is most often diagnosed in adults, especially those 50 years of age and older, but anyone at any age can suffer from this disorder. It occurs when the sleeper stops breathing for ten or more seconds at a time. Most people experience a few incidents of apnea or hypopnea, shallow breathing, or cessation of breathing for less than ten seconds at a time, but those who suffer from sleep apnea can have 100s or even 1000s of apnea and hypopnea events each night.
There are two types of sleep apnea that are related to the causes of breathing cessation. The first is central sleep apnea. It occurs when the brain fails to trigger the body to breathe in and out at night. This is a much less common type of sleep apnea, and when patients are diagnosed with this form of apnea, it’s essential that they seek adequate treatment from a medical professional and/or a surgeon right away.
Sleep Apnea Is One of The Most Common Sleep Disorders
An Estimated 18 Million American Suffer From It, Those Who Do Are 4x More Likely To Suffer From A Stroke And 3x More Likely To Suffer From Heart Disease.
?What Is Obstuctive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing the soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute. In addition to preventing breathing, sleep apnea also causes patients to repeatedly wake up during the night. This leads to sleep deprivation and daytime exhaustion. In order to restart breathing, the body triggers a panic response that elevates blood pressure, which can be very dangerous and adversely affect health.
Snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, irritability, fatigue and insomnia are all signs that you could be deprived of sleep due to sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can be a potentially life-threatening condition. It can increase the risk for other serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.
Other common symptoms of sleep apnea include:
Loud, chronic snoring
Waking gasping for air, wheezing, or snorting
Feeling extremely tired all day even if you have plenty of sleep
Difficulty concentrating or memory loss
Unexplained changes in mood or behavior
Unexplained elevation of blood pressure
The traditionally prescribed treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. It involves sleeping with a face mask connected by flexible tubing to a constantly running machine. Although CPAP is effective, up to half of patients don’t adhere to the treatment. Many patients think that CPAP is the only treatment option they have for sleep apnea. Our team at Dental Sleep Solutions of Maryland LLC can provide an alternate sleep solution with oral appliance therapy.
These appliances shift the jaw forward in order to open the airway. This allows patients to sleep and breathe deeply through the night. Oral appliances are a great option for patients who travel frequently and don’t want to transport a large CPAP system and those who are CPAP intolerant. You might also be recommended an oral appliance to wear in addition to the CPAP to improve the efficacy of both treatment methods.
What Is Oral Appliance Therapy?
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that fits easily into your lifestyle. A dental oral appliance looks like a sports mouth guard and is worn only during sleep. It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway, preventing sleep apnea and snoring.
Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a sleep physician, a dentist experienced in dental sleep medicine can make a custom-fitted oral appliance using impressions and models of your teeth.
Oral appliance therapy is covered by most medical insurance plans, including Medicare. Patients like the oral appliances because they are comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, convenient for travel and easy to clean.
Treating snoring or sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. Custom-fit oral appliances from Dental Sleep Solutions of Maryland LLC can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.
If you have concerns about snoring and sleep apnea, it may be time to make an appointment. If you suspect you may have sleep apnea, we can recommend a sleep physician to help get you started on your path to treatment. If you have already been diagnosed with mild to moderate sleep
apnea, or have tried CPAP and are not tolerant to it, we can fit you with an oral appliance. Our team at Dental Sleep Solutions of Maryland LLC is ready to answer your questions about snoring, obstructive sleep apnea, dental sleep medicine and oral appliance therapy.
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