Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that causes a person’s breathing to be interrupted during sleep. This condition causes short, constant pauses in a patient’s breathing when they are resting but do not last more than a few seconds. These interruptions can happen up to hundreds of times each night which results in ineffective sleep. This means the brain and the rest of the body may not be getting enough oxygen.
There are 2 types of sleep apnea:
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): This is the more common of the 2 forms, it is caused by blockage of the airway. This usually happens when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
Central sleep apnea (CSA): Here the airway is not blocked but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe, due to instability in the respiratory control center.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age. Below are some common symptoms that should indicate a cause for concern:
A Successful Alternative to CPAP
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a form of positive airway pressure ventilator, which applies mid air pressure on a continuous basis. Although, it is right for many patients, The machine relies on a bulky face mask which forces the air into the throat and lungs through the mouth and/or nose. It also can be very loud and you may experience difficulty falling asleep. If you suffer from snoring, sleep apnea or intolerance to a CPAP device, please ask our staff for assistance today! Our dentists can create an oral appliance that comfortably adjusts the position of your jaw, allowing the airway to stay clear and unhindered. Easy to remove, Easy to store, and Easy to travel with.
An oral appliance looks like a cross between a mouth guard (plastic molds that fits over the teeth) and a retainer (holds the mouth in a specific position) The appliance holds the jaw slightly more forward and down than normal, which keeps the airway open, reduces snoring and helps a person breathe more freely through the night.
That said, oral appliance therapy can’t help with every case of sleep apnea – It is better suited for more mild or moderate symptoms. A CPAP machine might still be better for severe or CSA cases or moderate.
Your dentist will be able tell you if you are a good candidate for an oral appliance therapy and custom fit one to your mouth.
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