Sleep Apnea

Does your partner complain of you snoring loudly at night?
Are you having disturbed sleep or waking up tired?

Snoring usually causes no significant medical problems, however for some people it may lead to a more potentially serious medical condition known as 'Obstructive Sleep Apnea'.

Sleep Apnea is caused by the blockage of the airway when the lower jaw and the tongue collapses against the back of your throat when you lie down. This obstructs the upper airway resulting pauses in breathing and/or instances of shallow breaths when asleep. Sleep apnea can become serious if not timely treated.

Some of the signs and symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea include:
  • Morning headaches

  • Tiredness upon waking

  • Choking or gasping for air during the night

  • Sore, dry throat on waking

  • Difficulty staying asleep (insomnia)

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness (hypersomnia)

  • Poor concentration

  • Memory deterioration

  • Anxiety or depression

Although sleep apnea can affect anyone, but certain factors increase your risk :
  • Excess weight, obesity, males, older adults, having a previous family history, having a history of nasal congestion, & people who use sedatives, tranquilizers & smokers have a higher tendency of developing sleep apnea.

You might be pleased to know that dentistry may have a solution for you.

The treatment options vary depending on the severity of your sleep apnea
  • MAD - Mandibular Advancement Splint – A custom made splint, this device treats snoring and sleep apnea by moving the lower jaw forward slightly, which tightens the soft tissue and muscles of the upper airway to prevent obstruction of the airway during sleep

  • CPAP - Continuous Positive Airway Pressure - Patients wear a face or nasal mask during sleep. The mask, connected to a pump, provides a positive flow of air into the nasal passages in order to keep the airway open.

  • Oral Appliance Therapy can be used to treat both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea in adults

    Here is how the treatment works:

    1) A custom-made mouth piece is made from impressions taken of your teeth to ensure they fit you comfortably.

    2) Made from a hard wearing plastic, the mouthpiece is worn at night and works by holding the bottom jaw in a slightly forward position.

    3) This position opens up your airway significantly, allowing you to breathe better and as a result sleep better too.

  • In some cases surgery may be the best treatment.

If you feel you are experiencing any of the above symptoms it is best to see your doctor for a formal diagnosis and treatment.

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