What is Sleep Apnea and How Can I Treat it?
Sleep apnea is a recognized medical disorder that can have long-term implications for your health. However, treatment for sleep apnea can be a relatively simple matter with the Moses device, which is placed in the mouth while you sleep. Premier Dental offers the Moses device to treat sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is an actual sleep disorder in which you stop breathing multiple times during the night. It is not just snoring, although snoring is the most common symptom. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when your throat muscles relax during sleep and block the airway. When your air supply is cut off, it's common for patients to jerk themselves awake, often thrashing around in the bed. The multiple awakenings leave you constantly tired and susceptible to injury from accidents due to sleepiness when driving or operating machinery. Sleep apnea can also increase your risk of obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease.
What Causes Sleep Apnea?
Some people are more prone to sleep apnea due to the shape of the jaw or other anatomical issues. Individuals who are obese or who have thick necks tend to have narrow airways, which increases the risk of sleep apnea. Genetics may play a role, as the anatomical structures in the face, neck and throat are affected by heredity. In some cases, the problem is actually a brain disorder in which the brain does not send the proper messages to the respiratory organs and muscles. This condition is called central sleep apnea and is the most dangerous type.
Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
The most common symptom of sleep apnea is loud snoring. Episodes of shortness of breath, gasping and abrupt awakenings may be reported by the patient or bed partner. Chronic sleep deprivation is also common, and patients with sleep apnea may complain of being tired all the time, have excessive daytime sleepiness or a morning headache. Mental symptoms can include irritability, depression and difficulty concentrating. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a test called a sleep study (polysomnography).
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Treatment varies according to the kind of sleep apnea and the patient's ability to tolerate different treatments such as a facial mask or CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), which helps keep the airways open. When sleep apnea is the result of problems with jaw position, an oral appliance called The Moses™ can be helpful. The Moses™ appliance is made from a special plastic custom-fitted to the individual patient by a dentist trained in treating sleep apnea. You'll need to wear it in your mouth each night while you sleep.
If you suspect you have sleep apnea, you should have the diagnosis confirmed to prevent long-term health effects and seek treatment to correct this potentially dangerous condition. Please contact us at Premier Dental Care to schedule an appointment or for any questions you may have.