Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by pauses in breath during sleep. These pauses can last for several seconds to minutes. They usually occur five to thirty times or more per hour.
There are three different types of sleep apnea: Obstructive (when a physical barrier blocks or collapses the air passageway), Central (when the brain fails to send signals to muscles that control breathing), and Compex (a combination of obstructive and central). Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common and makes up about 84% of sleep apnea cases.
In cases of obstructive sleep apnea, a pause in breath is usually followed gasping, choking, or snoring… although not all snoring is caused by sleep apnea.
Daytime signs of sleep apnea include morning headaches, dry mouth/throat in the morning, irritability, sleepiness, depression, and lack of focus. If untreated, sleep apnea can increase risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke.
Sleep apnea often times goes undiagnosed since the person suffering from the condition does not notice the signs while sleeping. Through looking at family history, medical examination, and sleep studies, physicians can diagnose sleep apnea and prescribe proper treatment. Treatment options include lifestyle changes, dental appliances, breathing devices, or surgery.
LifeSmiles of New Hope offers Oral Appliance Therapy as one way to treat sleep apnea. Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) involves wearing a custom dental device in the mouth. This device is similar to a mouthguard used in sports and repositions the jaw during sleep.
By stabilizing the lower jaw in a slightly forward position, the device holds the upper airway open and prevents it from collapsing during sleep, which is the primary cause for snoring and sleep apnea.
Please call us for more information or to schedule an appointment regarding Sleep Apnea Treatments. (770) 445-1314