Sleep Apnea

Snoring is extremely common, and occasional light snoring is at worst a minor annoyance. On the other hand, loud and habitual snoring can disrupt your sleep (and that of a loved one!) and may be a sign of a much more serious sleep disorder – obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

WHAT IS OBSTRUCTIVE SLEEP APNEA ?

People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) have disrupted sleep and low blood oxygen levels. When obstructive sleep apnea occurs, the tongue is sucked against the back of the throat. This blocks the upper airway and airflow stops. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears, and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp.

OSA affects over 18 million Americans and is not limited to adults. Children can suffer from OSA and the resulting fatigue just as readily as adults. In addition to the impact it has on your lifestyle, focus and energy, OSA can increase a person’s risk for: stroke, heart attack, type 2 diabetes, auto-immune diseases, depression and hypertension.

In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and worsening of ADHD

There are several treatment options available. An initial treatment may consist of using a nasal CPAP machine that delivers pressurized oxygen through a nasal mask to limit obstruction at night. Although CPAP machines have been shown to be extremely effective in severe sleep apnea and chronic snoring cases, they are not without their drawbacks. Many people find wearing the mask cumbersome and uncomfortable. The plastic of the mask can chafe the skin, causing irritation and in some cases open sores. In addition, a CPAP machine is noisy during operation and can prevent the wearer and anyone within earshot from falling asleep. Consequently, over 50 percent of patients who use a CPAP machine discontinue use due to these drawbacks.

WHAT IS ORAL APPLIANCE THERAPY?
 
Fortunately there is another option for sufferers of snoring and mild to moderate sleep apnea – Oral Appliance Therapy. This therapy involves the selection, fitting and use of a specially designed oral appliance that maintains an open, unobstructed airway in the throat when worn during sleep. Unlike CPAP machines, oral appliances are small, comfortable and easy to wear. In fact, most people find it only takes a couple weeks to become acclimated to wearing the appliance. They are also extremely convenient and easy to carry when traveling.  
 
If you or a loved one suffer from snoring or OSA, or wear a CPAP machine, contact our office for more information on FDA approved oral sleep appliances which give can you a good night’s sleep without the discomfort of CPAP, surgery of drugs. We are experts at selecting and fitting oral sleep appliances. And you’ll be happy to know that in most cases, oral sleep appliances are covered by medical insurance.

Call our orthodontic office today and schedule an exam with Dr. Zaidi to see if orthodontic treatment can help you get a good night’s sleep!