How Is Sleep Apnea Treated?
Snoring can sometimes be a sign of a serious sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. Sleep apnea happens when the soft tissues of your throat and mouth collapse into your airway causing a blockage. The blockage causes you to lose oxygen in your bloodstream. Your brain is then signaled that you are suffocating, which causes your brain to then signal to the body to wake up and gasp for air. While your body may wake up subconsciously, your mind might not remember it the next day. However, you may find yourself feeling sleepy and groggy despite the number of hours that you thought you were fully asleep. Your dentist can help fit you for an oral appliance that can prevent sleep apnea from occurring.
Oral Appliance With a Custom Fit
An oral appliance is worn during sleep and is worn similarly to a mouth guard. The bottom part of the appliance gently pulls the bottom part of your jaw forward, which moves the soft tissue and opens the airway further. The appliance will keep your mouth’s tissues in a position that is less likely to collapse and cause obstructive sleep apnea. An alternative treatment to an oral appliance is using a CPAP machine. CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure; the continuous flow of air can help to keep the airways unobstructed. A CPAP machine often requires louder and bulkier equipment than an oral appliance.
Why to Treat OSA
While you may not notice your snoring or gasps for air, it may be keeping your family or partner up at night. Your body will also notice the stress that obstructive sleep apnea puts onto you. Without restful sleep, you may be moody and drowsy throughout the day. Sleep-deprived people are often more prone to getting into accidents or gaining weight. The oxygen deprivation in your blood can lead to high blood pressure. Obstructive sleep apnea can also increase your risks for developing conditions like diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and more. Treatment to stop sleep apnea can help lessen your risks of developing these health issues.