In fact, researchers have linked sleep apnea to diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and stroke. The good news is that there are treatment options – some of which are non-surgical or mechanized. Our practice treats obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with oral appliances that are comfortable and convenient.
For some people, snoring is just the sound of soft oral tissue vibrating as a sleeper breathes. For those with sleep apnea, however, snoring is a sign that the airways are obstructed. Sleep apnea is a condition where soft tissues block air passageways while one sleeps. This blockage will ultimately lead to short periods of apnea (breathing cessation). Once the brain recognizes that breathing is compromised, it will emit waking signals to rouse the sleeper so that proper breathing can resume. The problem with slight wakefulness is that it disrupts sleep. The cycle of breathing cessation and slight wakefulness can occur hundreds of times throughout the night, making it impossible to achieve true rest.
What makes this condition even more insidious is that it’s not easy to diagnose because its most obvious symptoms manifest when people are asleep. Instead, OSA sufferers might mistake other symptoms – like forgetfulness, morning headaches, and exhaustion – for other issues such as stress or depression.
If you or your partner snore, it’s a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional who can order a sleep study. Sleep studies are necessary to determine whether a person has OSA. These studies can also be used to measure the effectiveness of OSA treatment in the future, too. Once you have a diagnosis, you can seek treatment.
Treating sleep apnea can change a person’s life. Not only will it reduce the severity and frequency of snoring, it will make it possible to actually sleep properly. Our sleep dentist, Dr. Gillum, treats OSA with oral appliance therapy. This treatment option is easy-to-use, convenient, and comfortable. Oral appliance therapy involves sleeping with a small, custom-made appliance that widens the airway by moving the lower jaw slightly forward. Worn like a mouthguard, these oral appliances do not obstruct movement so it’s easy to sleep in any position one chooses.
Oral appliances are an effective alternative to CPAP machines or invasive oral surgery. If you have questions about oral appliance therapy for sleep apnea, call Indy Dental Sleep to reserve a consultation with Dr. Gillum.