When snoring gets serious
Do you or your partner snore so loudly and frequently that your bed has become the site of a nightly battle for a good night’s rest? While snoring may seem like a fairly trivial issue, it might be a sign that there is something more serious going on.
What is sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a common and dangerous sleep disorder that affects millions of Americans, while many cases remain undiagnosed because symptoms are largely present during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat collapse during sleep, obstructing the airway and preventing normal breathing. The lack of oxygen and constant sleep disruptions can have serious consequences for your quality of sleep, quality of life during the day, and your overall health.
Signs & symptoms
Some of the warning signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include (most symptoms occur during sleep):
- Loud, frequent snoring
- Choking or gasping for air
- Breathing & sleep disruptions
- Frequent urination
- Excessive daytime sleepiness & fatigue
- Dry mouth or throat, especially in the morning
- Insomnia, nightmares
- Depression, anxiety, irritability, mood swings
- Weight gain
- Chronic headache or migraine
While anyone can develop sleep apnea, there are certain risk factors that increase your risk. You are at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea if you are:
- Have a large neck
- Over age 40
- Have a family history of sleep apnea
- Drink alcohol or use sedatives or tranquilizers
- Smoke tobacco
- Nasal congestion
- Narrow airway
Sleep apnea has direct effects on your quality of sleep, your quality of life during the day, and your overall health. The only time the body can repair itself is during sleep, and if you are unable to find restful sleep night after night, your health will begin a downward spiral. Sleep apnea greatly increases your risk of developing systemic health problems including:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Heart attack
- Chronic acid reflux
- Erectile dysfunction
- Even death
If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are several treatment options available to you. CPAP machine is one of the most common treatment options, although many patients find the device intolerable. A CPAP is a machine that connects to an oxygen mask that you wear during sleep to provide a continuous flow of oxygen and prevent the airway from collapsing. However, many patients are unable to find restful sleep while wearing the device, thus rendering treatment ineffective.
There are also surgical procedures for the treatment of sleep apnea, although all of them have varying side effects and rates of success. At A Smile By Design, we believe that this should be your last resort.
Oral Appliance Therapy
At A Smile By Design, we are proud to offer oral appliance therapy as a successful and predictable treatment option for our sleep apnea patients. Oral appliance therapy uses a device (oral appliance) that fits inside the mouth like a mouth guard that you wear during sleep. The device gently shifts the lower jaw forward, preventing the airway from collapsing, and allowing patients to breathe normally throughout the night.
Our sleep apnea patients have been able to get back their nights, their days, their health, and their life with non-invasive oral appliance therapy. Patients love their oral appliance therapy device because it is:
- Easy to wear
- Easy to care for
- Custom made just for you
If you’re ready to take ownership of your health and treat your sleep apnea, we would love to speak with you about oral appliance therapy.
If you have any questions about sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy, or would like to schedule a consultation with your Dansville dentist, Dr. Vogler at A Smile by Design, please contact us today at (585) 335-7115.