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Your sleep impacts every aspect of your health and daily life. Sleeping well helps you look, feel, and perform your best. Having a sleep problem can be harmful to your health and well-being. One of the most common sleep problems is obstructive sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a serious, sometimes fatal medical disorder that affects around 10% of American men and 6% of American women over the age of 40. Sleep apnea sufferers completely stop breathing during sleep, sometimes hundreds of times in a single night. Normal breathing ceases because the airway becomes obstructed, causing a serious reduction of airflow to the lungs.
Common Signs/Symptoms of Sleep Apnea:
- Gasping for air
- Choking sounds
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Extreme fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Memory loss
Like snoring, sleep apnea is more common in men, but it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway or misaligned jaw all increase the risk of sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea raises your risk for serious health problems. These include:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Chronic acid reflux
- Erectile dysfunction
Treatment for Sleep Apnea
At Robertsdale Dental Care, we recommend a sleep apnea device that is customized, comfortable to wear, and is used to alleviate this condition. The goal of this sleep apnea device is to separate the jaws and push the lower jaw forward slightly. This slight repositioning opens up the airway, and allows oxygen to flow freely again.
Research shows that oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. An oral appliance is worn in the mouth only while you sleep and fits like a sports mouth guard or an orthodontic retainer. Patients that have the sleep apnea dental device report that they have stopped loud snoring, they feel more rested in the daytime, and they are much more comfortable going to sleep. This device offers a viable alternative to Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and is more comfortable to wear. Most patients consider a sleep apnea appliance to be more comfortable to wear than a CPAP mask and the appliance doesn't make noises, like the CPAP.
If you have questions or concerns about sleep apnea appliances, call or ask us at your next appointment.