It's estimated that close to 20 million adults in the United States suffer from obstructive sleep apnea! This is a condition where breathing pauses or stops repeatedly throughout the night, continuously interrupting the sleep cycle. Sleep is our body's time to repair and rejuvenate, and without quality sleep, our overall health and wellness can start to suffer. Many people are not aware that they have sleep apnea, but they may have symptoms such as: difficulty concentrating, irritability, foggy memory, depression or falling asleep during the day (at work/on the phone/while driving). If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your risk for: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, erectile dysfunction and premature aging of the face (increased lines and wrinkles).
Snoring is a strong indicator for sleep apnea, and some people will even make choking or gasping sounds when their breathing is disrupted. The first (and most important) step is to undergo a sleep study, so a professional can evaluate your sleep cycle. Aaron Family Dentistry is part of a program where a home sleep test can be delivered directly to the patient's door. They are asked to follow their normal routine for two nights while wearing a monitor, and then, the device is returned. The information is evaluated and a diagnosis is prepared by a sleep physician.
Treatment options include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliance therapy or surgery (severe cases). The CPAP includes a face mask and a hose that connect to a motor that runs throughout the night, gently pushing air to keep the airway open. Oral appliances are a mouth guard like device that helps position the jaw in a favorable position to keep the airway open. Surgical options include various procedures and are usually recommended if the CPAP and oral appliance are not successful. Many patients find the oral appliance to be more comfortable and less cumbersome than a CPAP. It also allows side and tummy sleeping, where a CPAP is more restrictive. Patient's partners usually prefer the oral appliance as well since there is no noise associated with the device. If the sleep physician, your dentist and you decide that an oral appliance is the right choice, a custom-fit sleep apnea device will be fabricated for you. The FDA has approved over 100 oral appliances, and most medical insurance plans include coverage for oral sleep appliances.
Has anyone told you that you're a noisy sleeper? Or, do you feel that you're never fully rested? Call our office today to discuss your options!