Sleep Apnea Therapy
A good night’s sleep is essential to having a healthy, happy morning. If you’re one of the millions of people suffering from sleep apnea, you may think you’re getting plenty of sleep at night, but you still wake up exhausted. This frustrating sleep disorder affects millions of US adults and can be detrimental to health, but it often remains undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for years. If you’re worried you may be struggling with this common sleep disorder, skilled sleep dentist, Kevin P. Labosky, DMD, invites you to call to schedule a consultation appointment with us in our State College practice. We offer oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea sufferers, and we may be able to help you improve your quality and quantity of sleep.
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a disorder that causes patients to stop breathing for ten or more seconds at a time during sleep. While most people experience one or even a few apnea events during a night’s sleep, sleep apnea sufferers can experience 100s of apnea events each night. Following each apnea event, the body will trigger a panic response to restart breathing. This panic raises blood pressure and causes patients to restart breathing with a gasp, wheeze, or snort. There are two types of sleep apnea – central and obstructive. Central is the rarer form of sleep apnea, and it occurs when the brain fails to trigger the body to breathe during sleep. The more common form of sleep apnea is the aptly named obstructive sleep apnea. This form of apnea occurs when the tissues in the mouth and throat obstruct the airway during the night, preventing regular breathing.
How Will I Know if I Have Sleep Apnea?
Patients suffering from sleep apnea can experience a wide range of side effects, making it difficult to pin point this condition. Patients who are male, over the age of 50, and those with a BMI over 25 are at the highest risk for the sleep apnea, and they should pay special attention to their sleep patterns and monitor for indicators. Some of the many warning signs of sleep apnea include:
- Snoring – loud and chronic
- Waking wheezing, snorting, or gasping for air
- Feeling exhausted during the day even after eight or more hours of sleep
- Having difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Changing mood or behaviors with no recognized cause
Why Should I Visit a Dentist?
Dentists have years of advanced training in the innerworkings of oral and facial structures. Skilled dentists like Dr. Labosky receive advanced training that allows them to offer patients effective sleep apnea treatment using oral appliances. These custom crafted appliances shift the jaw slightly forward, placing pressure on the throat to hold the airway open through the night. These comfortable, portable appliances offer significant improvement in the quantity and quality of sleep for most obstructive sleep apnea sufferers.
Do Oral Appliances Work for all Sleep Apnea Patients?
Unfortunately, no. Patients with central sleep apnea will not usually be candidates for oral appliance therapy. Additionally, some patients with very severe obstructive sleep apnea may not experience adequate relief through treatment with oral appliances alone. These patients may want to consider combined treatment using CPAP and oral appliances together.