Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Whether it’s your husband, wife, bed partner or a friend, we all know someone who snores. Snoring is not only disruptive, but more importantly can be a sign of a serious disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Fortunately, the offices of Milestone Orthodontics offer several different treatment options to help those who suffer from OSA.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops periodically during sleep. If you suffer from sleep apnea, each time your breathing stops, the resulting lack of oxygen alerts your brain, which temporarily wakes you up to restart proper breathing. Because the time spent awake is so brief, most people with sleep apnea don’t remember it – and many think they are getting a good night’s sleep. However, the constant wake-sleep-wake-sleep cycle precludes the deep sleep that refreshes the body, and sufferers are frequently drowsy during the day.
What are the signs of sleep apnea?
The following symptoms can indicate the presence of sleep apnea. If you notice one or more of these signs, give us a call and schedule a free consultation:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Loud snoring at night
- Waking up at night short of breath
- Snorting or choking sounds during the night (indicating a restart of breathing)
- Headaches upon waking in the morning
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the day
- Extreme drowsiness throughout the day
Good sleep hygiene (it’s best not to sleep on your back), weight loss if necessary, and regular exercise are some helpful OSA treatments patients can practice on their own. Medical and dental treatments include Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), and surgical removal of throat tissues i.e. uvula and tonsils.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliances can be worn in the mouth to treat snoring and OSA. These devices are similar to orthodontic retainers or sports mouth guards. Oral appliances work in several ways:
- Repositioning the lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula
- Stabilizing the lower jaw and tongue
- Increasing the muscle tone of the tongue
Dentists with training in Oral Appliance Therapy are familiar with the various designs of appliances. They can determine which one is best suited for your specific needs.