Do you often snore at night? If so, you (and subsequently, your significant other) may be experiencing poor sleep. In addition, snoring has often been linked to OSA or obstructive sleep apnea. Is this cause for alarm? How do you know when to see your dentist to evaluate your sleep apnea risk?
Snoring occurs when our breathing is partially obstructed during sleep. Air is forced through these obstructed airways, vibrating tissue and causing the sound we associate with snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea develops when the airways are completely blocked by the collapse of overly-relaxed soft tissue, leading to episodes where a patient stops breathing until the brain wakes them again, leading to exhaustion. Often, chronic snoring is a warning sign that you may need treatment.
You may also experience moodiness, difficulty concentrating, and episodes of waking up suddenly gasping for air or choking. You may also notice frequent daytime drowsiness. If one or more of these warning signs applies to you, then schedule an appointment to obtain a thorough diagnosis.
How do we treat the disorder? The first step is a home sleep study with a state of the art device that measures your full and partial obstructions along with grinding episodes. These measurements are evaluated by a board certified sleep specialist that recommends the appropriate device to aid with the obstructions. In many cases, we can use an oral appliance. This custom device appears similar to a nightguard and will be worn as you sleep. The appliance actually moves the jaw forward, just enough to prevent the collapse of soft tissue. You then breathe without interruption, avoiding apneic episodes during sleep. If you have any questions about snoring, sleep apnea, or our treatment options, then please contact our office today. Deep, uninterrupted sleep is essential for our quality of life, don’t let lack of good sleep have a negative impact on your life!