Sleep apnea is a condition where the individual experiences shallow or halted breathing during periods of sleep. This condition can be so severe, the patient may experience hundreds of episodes every night that interrupt sleep with potentially dangerous consequences. Diagnosing sleep apnea requires a sleep study, but if you suspect you are dealing with regularly interrupted sleep, a consultation with our dentist may be of assistance.
Many of us experience sleep interruptions for a number of reasons … a snoring partner, bad dreams, indigestion, or outside influences like a neighboring barking dog or noisy party next door. But these are usually temporary issues, and don’t have the same impact that sleep apnea can have on the long term health of the patient.
If regular sleep disturbances occur, try these suggestions: sleeping on one’s side, avoid the consumption of caffeinated products within several hours of retiring, limit alcohol or lose a few pounds. But another option that might bring immediate relief that does not require a sleep study or the use of bulky CPAP equipment is with a customized oral appliance.
A visit with the dentist outlining your concerns may lead to the recommendation of turning to oral appliance therapy where a mouth piece designed to hold the jaw in place (slightly forward) will prevent the soft tissues around the tongue and near the throat from collapsing and blocking the airway. Oral appliance therapy has enjoyed much success when treating patients with obstructive sleep apnea.
Ignoring problems associated with this sleep disorder can have serious consequences. In addition to daily fatigue, the patient may experience morning headaches, suffer from depression, or experience general lack of concentration. Since the majority of jobs require alertness, this can produce devastating results.
Long term sleep disruption can lead to serious health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and Type II diabetes. Knowing the symptoms of sleep apnea and taking action can lead to a comfortable and productive life. Snoring is a common symptom, but that alone does not indicate sleep apnea. Awakening suddenly and gasping for air and regular nighttime restlessness may be indicators that prompt further action.
Oral appliance therapy is worthy of investigation for moderate symptoms. Our dentist can provide a custom fitted mouth guard that can offer relief to treat sleep apnea.
Contact us at the office of Dr. Philip Kozlow today!