Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Here at Susan J. Curley DDS, we strive every day to give you and your family the best dental care in Wall and the surrounding area.
When the soft palate and tongue collapse at the back of your throat, it blocks airflow to your lungs causing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). By not getting enough oxygen, your brain will wake you up from sleep to breathe (this may happen as many as 300 times each night) and deprive you of the needed REM sleep which can lead to an extensive list of issues that are associated with the chronic lack of sleep.
Sleep Apnea is a very common and severe medical disorder that causes your body to block the air passages and interrupt breathing while sleeping. The muscles in your throat will relax, and then your tongue might fall back, and “boom” block your airway while you sleep. Your ribs will expand, your diaphragm will contract to try to breathe, but no air will be exchanged. In your blood, the oxygen levels will drop, and the carbon dioxide levels will climb. Your brain will sense there is an emergency and send adrenaline out to your whole body causing it to wake up which will flex your muscles and create a type of resuscitative gasp. People that have Sleep Apnea usually snore very loudly with pauses, then stop breathing, then a snort. All of it makes for a lot of loud noises and can happen hundreds of times every night, and then you will wake up feeling exhausted.
When you have Sleep Apnea, it is categorized by how many times the airway obstructions do occur. A mild case is said to happen less than 15 times in an hour. A moderate case will be less than 30 times in an hour. Severe cases are over 30 times an hour.
Through research it has been identified that Obstructive Sleep Apnea can cause problems like memory loss, irritability, decreased sex drive, excessive daytime sleepiness, headaches, depression, and impaired concentration. If this is left untreated, having sleep apnea can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, a stroke, or even sudden death while you are sleeping. There have also been links to diabetes and other metabolic disorders. The disorder will worsen with age and weight gain.
Here at Susan J. Curley DDS, we work with you to diagnose your causes of sleep apnea or if you even have it. If you are deemed to be a patient with sleep apnea, here at our clinic, we will assist you in selecting and fitting an oral appliance and provide you with the follow-up care you need.
Sleep Apnea Signs:
- General daytime drowsiness
- Choking or gasping in sleep
- Falling asleep unintentionally during the daytime
- Unrestful sleep
- Heavy snoring
If you have any of these symptoms, you might have Sleep Apnea. Contact us at Susan J. Curley DDS to assist you in determining what options there are for treatment.
Initial treatments start with positional sleeping and weight loss, followed by use of an oral appliance, c-pap or maybe surgery. Either weight loss or gain can make a noticeable change in your respiratory disturbance. Just a 10% loss in your weight can reduce the disturbance by as much as 26%. A weight gain of 10% can increase it by 32%. Staying off your back can improve the quality of your sleep, and there are ways you can train yourself how to sleep in the right position.
The Obstructive Sleep Apnea option that most people are prescribed is CPAP. It is where the ambient room air is pumped/pushed through the nose by a mask that inflates the air passageway to prevent any obstruction from occurring. CPAP can be useful, but not if the patient will not be compliant. After 4-6 months it is found that only 50% of the patients will remain compliant.
There is also Oral Appliance Therapy that may be prescribed. It is a dental appliance a lot like an orthodontic retainer or maybe a sports mouth protector. They are custom fit to be comfortable and to maintain an open airway. The two basic appliances used are the tongue retaining device and the mandibular advancement appliance.
The tongue retainer holds the tongue forward using a bulb. It aids oxygen intake and helps to provide sleep for the snorers and the people with OSA.
The mandibular advancement appliance holds the jaw in a slightly forward position. The position works three ways: 1st, it will not let the mandible fall back to obstruct the airway; 2nd, by it holding the mandible forward, the appliance will hold the tongue forward and not allow it to fall back so it can obstruct your airway; and 3rd, forward position creates a muscular baseline so the muscles in the side of your neck, don’t allow them to collapse your airway.
Several surgical treatments have been tried to help in resolving Obstructive Sleep Apnea. It seems that both of the surgeries have proven to address the problem on a long-term basis.
We all know that snoring is common and in a lot of cases, harmless. Almost everybody snores at some time or the other. The occasional light snoring is no concern. The loud and constant snoring could be a sign of OSA. The volume of snoring from the person will depend on the person, but almost half of those who snore loudly have some form of Sleep Apnea.
Snoring is the sound you make in your upper airway when you breathe in air. The sound is a sign that your airway is part way blocked, most of the time by soft tissue in your throat. The air flowing across the excess tissue will cause it to vibrate, making a sound, that comes out through your nose, your mouth, or both.
Come to Susan J. Curley DDS so we can help you with your snoring and Sleep Apnea Issues.