Do you wake with headaches and migraines? Do you feel fatigued all day and fall asleep unexpectedly? Does your partner spend the night on the sofa or in the spare bedroom to escape your loud, chronic snoring? You could have a serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. At We Smile Dentistry in London, Ontario, Dr. Giulio Spagnuolo offers dental sleep apnea solutions as a comfortable and effective alternative to CPAP masks.
Sleep apnea treatment can mean no CPAP
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when tissues at the back of the throat collapse as you relax into sleep, partially or completely blocking the airway. With severe sleep apnea, blood oxygen levels may drop dangerously, 30 or more times per hour. With each episode, sleep is interrupted as you jerk or choke into wakefulness before the cycle begins again. Most apneics, and often their bedmates, seldom get the deep sleep the body needs for rejuvenation.
The condition greatly increases the risk of:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Depression and anxiety
- Driving and workplace accidents
Sleep apnea in children can impede normal development of the mouth and sinuses. It is linked to ADHD, poor academic and athletic performance, and behavioural issues.
Treatment generally consists of CPAP – a device that delivers a continual flow of air that holds the back of the throat open. While CPAP is effective when used conscientiously, many people find it difficult to sleep wearing a nasal mask and tethered to a humming machine.
A sleep apnea oral appliance is a prescription device fitted by the dentist (following a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea and determine severity). It slips into the mouth, shifting the jaw slightly forward and depressing the tongue to keep the airway clear during sleep.
Sleep apnea devices can help patients overcome sleep apnea entirely or lessen the severity. In extreme cases, oral appliance therapy is added to CPAP for better results.
Do you snore excessively? Do you suffer from day time fatigue? Do you wake during the night with shortness of breath? You may suffer from the life-threatening sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. About one in every fifteen Americans suffers from sleep apnea and it is a problem that many might not even realize that they have. But that does this have to do with dentistry? Because sleep apnea is caused by an airway obstruction – the disorder can be treated through the mouth. The Thornton Adjustable Positioner or the TAP appliance is one of the more popular ways to treat sleep apnea. When the jaw bone is lax, tongue and soft tissue obstruct the airway. The TAP appliance advances the jaw bone allowing the air to flow freely and making sleep more restful throughout the night. If you think you might suffer from sleep apnea, talk to your dentist today about possible treatment options.
Anti-snoring solutions, too
An anti-snoring device is like oral appliance therapy. However, since it is not a medical device, you can be fitted for one without a sleep study and prescription. While a snore guard is intended to reduce snoring, it could also improve sleep apnea.
It is time to start getting healthy rest. Call We Smile Dentistry in London, ON at (226) 605-0042 to talk with Dr. Spagnuolo about sleep apnea treatment.