It is estimated that over 90 million Americans snore while sleeping. Snoring happens when the airway becomes constricted and the tissues vibrate against each other while air is moving in and out. The amount of vibration determines the volume of the snoring. Sometimes snoring is just that...snoring (noise). But often it is a sign of a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea, which is the airway actually closing and depriving the brain and body of necessary oxygen. It is important to have a proper evaluation and determine the cause of snoring in order to provide the best treatment.
Snoring doesn’t just affect the person doing the snoring. Many times bed partners suffer disrupted sleep due to the noise from their snoring partner. This disrupted sleep can make them feel like THEY are the ones who have sleep disordered breathing. Many couples who have a snoring partner end up sleeping in separate rooms, possibly straining the relationship.
Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome is a relatively new diagnosis in between snoring and sleep apnea. The upper airway collapses and restricts airflow but does not close off completely. It still causes decreases in oxygen and can cause many arousals at night resulting in the same symptoms as sleep apnea, such as daytime sleepiness and morning headaches.
Oral appliances are a great treatment option for patients diagnosed with UARS.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is an effective, non-invasive treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea that fits easily into your lifestyle. A dental oral appliance is small, custom made for you,
and is only worn during sleep.
It supports the jaw in a forward position to help maintain an open upper airway, preventing sleep apnea and snoring.
Once you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea by a sleep physician, a dentist experienced in dental sleep medicine can make a custom-fitted oral appliance using impressions and models of your teeth. Oral appliance therapy is covered by many medical insurance plans. Patients like it because it’s comfortable, easy to wear, quiet, portable, convenient for travel and easy to clean.
Treating snoring or sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy can help you feel like a new person. You will find that your symptoms, and your quality of life, can improve dramatically when you remain committed to your treatment and use it nightly. Custom-fit oral appliances from Dental Sleep Doc can improve your sleep, restore your alertness and revitalize your health.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing the soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, sleep apnea causes you to stop breathing up to hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.
Snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, memory problems, irritability, fatigue and insomnia are all signs that you could be losing shut-eye to sleep apnea. If left untreated, sleep apnea can be a potentially life threatening condition. It can increase the risk for other serious health problems such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and impotence.
CPAP is the gold standard in treatment for sleep apnea. It involves a face mask connected to a constantly running machine that blows air up the nose, forcing the airway open. We LOVE it when patients wear their CPAP and will always encourage them to do so.
Unfortunately, up to half of patients cannot tolerate their CPAP due to discomfort or inconvenience. In these cases, an oral appliance may be the right choice to allow freedom or to allow the pressure to be turned down on CPAP making it more comfortable.