Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing that occurs while the patient is asleep. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is the most common form and it is caused by the partial or complete blockage of the airway. While asleep, the tongue and lower jaw become so relaxed that they block the smooth flow of air through the throat. Patients may suffer interrupted breathing many times during the night.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include loud snoring, obesity, persistent daytime sleepiness, feeling of breathlessness in the middle of the night, morning dry mouth, and morning headaches. However, none of these symptoms is always present. Only a sleep study performed by a certified physician can set the diagnosis of sleep apnea and indicate how severe it is.
If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause serious and life-shortening consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, depression, weight gain, impotence, headaches and memory problems. Because of poor sleep quality, it can potentially affect job performance, and may cause drowsiness behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.
Oral appliances can be used only for mild to moderate sleep apnea and snoring. Different types of these devices available. They normally consist of a set of upper and lower acrylic mouth trays connected together to bring mandible in a forward position and keep the upper airway open.
If you have sleep apnea and cannot tolerate other treatment options (i.e. CPAP nasal mask), consider consulting our Prosthodontist about this option.