is a sleep disorder where breathing intermittently stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly and feel exhausted even after a full night’s sleep.
If not treated in time, sleep apnea can result in health issues such as stroke, hypertension, cardiomyopathy, diabetes, and heart disease. Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about sleep apnea:
What is the sleep cycle and why is it vital?
During sleep, you are physically and mentally at rest as you become relatively idle and unaware of your surroundings. Sleep can be either non-rapid eye movement (REM) or REM, alternating in 90-110 minute cycles.
A regular sleep pattern consists of 4-5 sleep cycles during the night. Sleep is deemed biologically essential as it facilitates healing and repairing of the body.
What are some common risk factors for sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a more common condition among men, but it can happen to women as well. Some risk factors include narrow airway, excess body weight, or misaligned jaw.
What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
Choking sounds while sleeping, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, intermittent snoring, waking up gasping, irritability, poor memory, and morning headaches are common symptoms of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea symptoms are mostly noticed by the bed partner rather than the patient themselves.
How is sleep apnea treated?
A common way to treat sleep apnea is through continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), which is administered by a mask connected to a CPAP machine.
Although CPAP is effective, some dental appliances also offer adequate treatment. Oral dental appliances to cure the condition include:
||Mandibular Advancement Drive (MAD): They look like retainers and mouthguards, and work by pushing the tongue and jaw forward to prevent throat muscles from falling back and blocking the airways.
||Tongue retaining device: These are similar to MADs, but includes a small portion that encloses your tongue to keep it positioned forward so that it does not collapse into the airway.
Are oral dental appliances comfortable?
Oral devices are lightweight and are specially designed to fit inside your mouth. Maximize their effectiveness by making follow-up visits to your dentist. The appliances will be adjusted over time to ensure optimum comfort.
Learn why visiting the dentist for sleep apnea can be beneficial here
Are dental devices as effective as CPAP?
Oral dental appliances are as useful for treating sleep apnea as CPAP when it comes to mild to moderate cases. For moderate to severe cases, CPAP may be required.
Many patients prefer an oral appliance as it only has to be worn at night, is portable, small and convenient to clean. Sleeping with a CPAP may be uncomfortable and the system is bulky and requires the use of masks and tubes.
No matter which option you choose, remember that effective treatment depends upon how consistently you adhere to it.
Can I use an oral appliance if I have missing teeth, dentures, or bridgework?
Oral appliances can be customized to suit the condition of your mouth, even with bridgework or dentures. You can benefit from it even if you are missing some or all of your upper teeth. However, it is ideal to have a minimum of 6-8 teeth to wear an oral dental device.
Oral dental appliances are competent treatment methods for sleep apnea, and have been approved after rigorous safety and effectiveness assessments. If you suffer from any sleep apnea symptoms or notice any in your partner, schedule an appointment with us at Smiles of Tulsa by calling us at (918) 891-3059 today.