Sleep Apnea Appliance Therapy

Sleep apnea is the most common and the most dangerous sleep disorder. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing dozens of times during sleep. This can be particularly severe and life threatening when there are more than twenty or thirty stoppages per hour. Because the heart is sensitive to oxygen levels in the blood, apnea is most dangerous in people with some form of heart disease.

There are three types of sleep apnea:

Central Sleep Apnea

sleep apneaCentral sleep apnea is a rare form that is caused by a problem in the central nervous system. The respiratory center in the brain that is responsible for breathing fails.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

As its name implies, obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the upper airway s obstructed. This is the most common type of sleep apnea and the most serious. Soft tissue in the palate, throat, or tongue may block the flow of air as a person struggles to breathe.

Mixed Sleep Apnea

Mixed sleep apnea is a combination of obstructive and central apnea. Researchers feel most sleep apnea is a mixed form, because a person with obstructive sleep apnea often has a tendency to breathe rapidly when recovering from an obstructive apnea event, thereby lowering the carbon dioxide level in the blood, which can trigger a central apneic event.

Sleep Apnea Symptoms

Sleep apnea symptoms include:

  • Waking up with sore or dry throat
  • Awakenings or insomnia
  • Loud snoring
  • Waking up with a choking or gasping sensation
  • Tiredness or lack of energy during the day
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless sleep or continuous movement during sleep

Obstructive Sleep Apnea Treatment

CPAP breathing machines have long been the most common prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. However, recent studies have shown that less than 50% of the people who have CPAP machines actually use them. Those machines are not the most comfortable options for adults. A dentist can provide a more reasonable alternative – a custom fit oral appliance.

The oral appliances used to treat sleep apnea usually consist of custom made, removable upper and lower trays that fit over the patient’s teeth. There is a mechanism that attaches the upper and lower trays and holds the patients jaw forward while they sleep. Before bed, a person suffering from sleep apnea can simply attach the trays together overnight, and then remove them in the morning. By holding the jaw forward, the oral appliance holds the tongue forward and keeps the airway open, preventing it collapsing, which is what occurs in sleep apnea.

Contact us today to learn more about our Sleep Apnea Appliance Therapy.