Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious health concern, often resolved or improved with a discreet oral appliance.
Adults need an average of 7 ½ hours of sleep nightly to maintain optimal function and health. Many people think they are sleeping enough, but the quality of sleep is extremely poor. This can lead to a number of unhealthy conditions.
Sleep apnea and snoring
Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders affecting Americans. The condition resembles snoring, so many affected individuals do not get the care they need to guard their long-term health. The way that sleep apnea differs from snoring is significant. When a person snores, he or she tends to make consistent, annoying noise. When sound ceases, we become concerned. Pauses in snoring may indicate lapses in breathing. The airway may become fully blocked for several seconds at a time, and this may occur hundreds of times per night.
The danger of sleep disorders
Studies show that poor quality sleep, such as with sleep apnea, can lead to several health problems:
- There is a 4-times greater risk of heart attack
- There is a 3 to 4-times greater risk of stroke
- There is a 3-times greater risk of diabetes
- People with sleep apnea are 7 times more likely to experience an automobile accident
- Sleep apnea doubles the risk of dying in your sleep
- People with sleep apnea are 40 percent more likely to be depressed
Treating sleep apnea
There are two primary ways to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Traditionally, patients have been treated with a medical CPAP device. This machine sustains air flow with a forced stream of air. Patients must wear a mask while they sleep. The mask is attached to a hose, which delivers gentle forced air into the airway. The force is sufficient to hold muscles and tissues off the airway when the body becomes relaxed.
CPAP therapy works. However, the overall statistics on treatment show a low rate of compliance. This is due to a number of factors such as feeling claustrophobic or embarrassed. For some patients, forced air creates physical discomfort such as dry eyes or a sore throat. At Sun Smile Dental, there is another option.
Oral appliance therapy
Studies have found that patients with obstructive sleep apnea find oral appliance therapy a comfortable and convenient method of treatment. Because of the customization and small size of the oral appliance, there is a greater likelihood of compliance to the treatment program. Like CPAP, oral appliance therapy is intended to sustain the airway against the pressure of relaxed muscles and tissues. It does so by positioning the tongue and jaw in a comfortable manner.
If sleep apnea is suspected, you are encouraged to speak with a friendly member of our team. We can discuss how to obtain an accurate diagnosis for your sleep concerns. With a proper diagnosis, we can move forward with oral appliance therapy to restore your sleep, and your health.