Mid-Columbia Dental Has Options to Treat Sleep Apnea
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea which occurs when a person’s airway closes and prevents them from taking a breath for at least 10 seconds. Think about this: the average person breathes 12-14 times per minute; that’s once every 4-5 seconds. The typical pause in breathing that happens during sleep apnea lasts for 20-40 seconds. That’s only two or three breaths every minute! Now imagine if you spend a good portion of your night breathing like that; you’d be exhausted!
And in fact, waking up feeling tired is one of the main signs of obstructive sleep apnea. Daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, restless sleep, morning headaches, elevated blood pressure, anxiety, depression, unexplained weight gain, acid reflux, night sweats, and irritability are all common signs and symptoms.
Approximately 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea.
How To Treat Sleep Apnea
There are a few ways, and some are more pleasant than others. Some patients undergo surgeries to try to open their airway more, but those are very painful experiences that are not only costly, dangerous, and unpleasant, but have limited success as well. There are less invasive ways to treat sleep apnea, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices.
These are typically considered the gold standard, but the problem is patient tolerance and compliance. Most people can’t stand to wear the device all night so they either don’t use it as often as they are supposed to, or not at all, or they take it off during the night without even realizing they did so. The majority of CPAP machines are bulky, uncomfortable face masks that look like something out of Top Gun and constantly blow air in your mouth. Doesn’t sound very comfortable, does it? It’s not! Luckily, there’s an alternative called an oral appliance.
A sleep apnea oral appliance is very similar to night guards worn for clenching and grinding, and most patients find that they’re not only comfortable but surprisingly effective.
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from sleep apnea or heavy snoring, call us to discuss your options.
There’s even a way to avoid doing the expensive, miserable hospital sleep studies, just ask how!