What is Sleep Apnea
Dr. Bryan Keropian calls “Cancer, AIDS and Obstructive Sleep Apnea the most dangerous and destructive diseases on EARTH!”
Snoring isn’t just an annoying sound: it can signal a larger problem, like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People with this chronic disorder experience pauses in their breathing while they sleep, caused by a blockage or collapse of their airway. The Institute of Medicine reports that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders. Eighty percent of the moderate and severe OSA cases remain undiagnosed. In most cases, the blockage of air is so great that no air can get through, causing repeated awakenings throughout the night. The disorder constantly reduces the oxygenation of the blood, further stressing the sleeper’s body. No oxygen at night is no good!
Causes of snoring and OSA
Approximately 30-50% of Americans snore at some point in their life.
Snoring is caused by the vibrations of your soft and/or hard tissue palates; these vibrations occur because of increasingly narrow air passages. When air passes through these passages, a “flapping” sound occurs because the tissue is soft in nature.
Surgery (to alleviate the snoring) is not always successful, however, because the sound may not originate from the soft palate; the snoring sometimes originates from tissues in the upper airway.
Risks caused by OSA
• Irregular heartbeats
• Increase the risk of high blood pressure
• Heart attack
• Heart failure
• Memory loss
• Morning headaches
• Decreased sex drive
Treatment of Sleep Apnea
Dentists work together with physicians to address sleep apnea and sleep-related breathing disorders through a treatment known as oral appliance therapy.
The patient undergoes a sleep study, if the patient is diagnosed with mild or moderate sleep apnea, the physician may recommend an oral appliance to be worn during sleep. This device is custom made for the contours of the patient’s mouth, and is similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard. It prevents the airway from closing by supporting the jaw in a forward position.
The dentist monitors the patient’s progress and provides adjustments and long-term follow-up care. In most cases of sleep apnea, oral appliance therapy can provide effective relief.
Sleep Apnea Device
This device is similar to an orthodontic retainer or sports mouth guard. It prevents the airway from closing by supporting the jaw in a forward position. The two piece construction allows for patient comfort and lateral jaw movement.
Simply place the device gently into place and fall asleep. Always clean you device every morning with cold water, a soft tooth brush and allow to dry. You may experience temporary side effects, such as sore jaw joint, increased salivation, dry mouth, sore teeth, irritation of the soft tissues in the mouth and or a slight change in your bit. These possible side effects should diminish within an hour of removing the device.