Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep causing lack of oxygen to your body. There are two types of sleep apnea:
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The most common type of sleep apnea is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep. OSA occurs when your tongue, tonsils, or other tissues in the back of the throat block the airway. When you try to breathe in, air cannot get through. People with untreated sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, so the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get the oxygen it needs. People with sleep apnea actually stop breathing up to 400 times throughout the night. These interruptions last 10-30 seconds and are often followed by a snort when breathing resumes. It is estimated that more than 12 million Americans have OSA. The disorder can affect people of all ages, though you’re more likely to develop OSA if you are overweight, male, African-American, or Latino.
  • Central sleep apnea: With this type of apnea, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems including:
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Stroke
  • Heart Failure, Irregular Heartbeats, and Heart Attacks
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Worsening of ADHD
  • Weight Gain

How is sleep apnea treated?

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): A mask covers the nose and mouth while you sleep. The mask is hooked up to a machine that delivers a continuous flow of air. Sleep Apnea and Medical Devices: Medical devices such as a mouthpiece or oral appliance can be made that help keep the airway open during sleep. Such devices are specifically designed by dentists with special expertise in treating sleep apnea. The mouthpiece is custom made for the individual and adjusts the position of the lower jaw and tongue. You put it in at bedtime to help keep your airway open while you sleep. Most dental devices fit inside your mouth, much like an athletic mouth guard. Two common oral devices are the mandibular repositioning device and the tongue retaining device. These devices open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep. It is very important to get fitted by a dental practitioner specializing in sleep apnea.

Call 877.678.9222 for more information, or to schedule an appointment.