Sleep apnea is a potentially life-threatening health condition involving repeated pauses in breathing while sleeping. The first and more common form of the condition is obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is when an airway obstruction interferes with oxygen flow through the nose or mouth while the individual sleeps. In patients afflicted with obstructive sleep apnea, the muscles of the throat and mouth relax when they are asleep to the point where they fall back into the airway and create a blockage that restricts the patient’s breathing.
Signs & Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The signs and symptoms of this condition during sleeping hours may include:
- Loud snoring or breathing.
- Episodes of stopped breathing.
- Sudden awakenings.
- Episodes of gasping for air.
- Complications getting a good night’s sleep.
An individual may exhibit signs and symptoms of sleep apnea throughout the day as well. For instance, sleep apnea can lead to a morning headache, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.
Our dentist, Dr. Joseph Ayoub will commonly conduct a sleep study to determine the severity of the disorder. This study’s results and other medical findings will play a role in determining the recommended treatment. A common form of therapy is a CPAP machine worn when sleeping. A CPAP machine gives the patient a constant flow of pressurized air into the respiratory system through an attacked mask.
An oral appliance may be an appropriate treatment in mild to moderate sleep apnea situations. Like a traditional mouthguard or an orthodontic retainer, the oral device is designed to help keep the patient’s tongue and the soft tissue at the back of the throat from collapsing, obstructing, and enabling the airway to stay open during sleep. In addition, an oral appliance is easy to wear, care for, comfortable, and portable. Oral devices are individually fabricated and customized for both maximum effectiveness and comfort.