Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition that can go undetected and untreated for a long time. This is because the condition’s effects occur during rest. Fortunately, more people are getting sleep apnea treatment since public awareness of the condition has increased.
Although sleep apnea is hard for the individual to detect, one can look out for some symptoms. Common symptoms of sleep apnea include waking with dry mouth and headaches, fatigue even after what seems like a full night of rest, excessive snoring, irritability, and memory loss. Our dentist offers sleep apnea treatment with oral appliance therapy.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
OSA is caused by tissue in the oral cavity blocking the airway during sleep. This blockage can be a result of bulky throat tissues caused by oral abnormalities or excessive weight. Sometimes apnea can be exacerbated by smoking, drinking alcohol, or taking certain medications like antihistamines or sedatives.
When the airway is compromised, patients are not able to breathe properly because they are sleeping. As breathing ceases (apnea), the brain signals the body to wake slightly so that breathing can be resumed. These cycles of apnea followed by wakefulness can occur hundreds of times throughout the night. The cycle of apnea and wakefulness causes sleep deprivation because it prevents people from progressing through each phase of sleep. Over time, untreated apnea will affect a person’s energy levels and overall wellbeing.
Sleep Apnea Treatment Options
There are few ways to treat OSA. Sleep apnea treatment involves both surgical and non-invasive methods. In the past, the most common treatment protocol was the use of CPAP machines. These machines emit a stream of air into the oral cavity to keep the airway clear. While this treatment is effective, it can dry out the mouth and prevent patients from sleeping because the machinery can be noisy and its accessories bulky.
The most comfortable option for sleep apnea treatment is oral appliance therapy. This involves patients wearing a custom oral appliance that resembles a small mouthguard. This appliance will widen the airway by positioning the jaw forward.
Oral appliance therapy is comfortable, affordable, and portable. Call the office of Dr. John Morris at 269-979-1500 today to reserve a consultation with our dentist.